This is a piece that I’d planned to get out earlier in the week, but things cropped up. For example, I had to make a trip to Swansea. So for that and other reasons it got delayed.
DRAMA QUEEN PERFORMS
This piece took inspiration from a report in Saturday’s Llais y Sais, but it links with other things I’ve written in recent years. Let’s start with the article.
It’s about Jessica Dunrod. Who a few days before had resigned as Amgueddfa Cymru’s “project manager of decolonising collections“.
The first point I want to make is that if you employ someone to ‘decolonise’ your collections then that’s an admission your collection needs decolonising. But who decides in the first place that a collection needs decolonising? And what criteria do they apply?
What exactly is a colonised collection? Is it a collection that has been taken over and is now being brutally exploited by another collection?
I suspect not.
In her resignation letter Dunrod accused our National Museum of high crimes and misdemeanours including a “toxic working environment“, being a den of “unresolved racism and bullying“, before sparing none with, “institutional racism across Wales in general“.
That final attack might appear to be an accusation of collective or national guilt. If so, then it’s a slander against us all. Which is why I’m going on the offensive, and not just against Jessica Dunrod.
I wrote about our national museum a couple of years back, when it came under attack from certain quarters.
My coverage began with Corruption Bay and a Tale of Cymrophobia (23.08.2021), in which I related that surveys commissioned by the Arts Council of Wales and Amgueddfa Cymru concluded both bodies were racist!
My attention was soon drawn to the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union (WAARU).
In a nutshell, what I found was a bunch of far left shit-stirrers moaning about racism, with WAARU (in its ‘report’) even accusing the Arts Council and the Museum of “upholding white supremacist ideology“.
Wow! there’s an ideology!
But as with all the other allegations, and the cases of ‘discrimination’, there was nothing specific, nothing tangible. Just wild accusations that make the report a work of fiction more worthy of funding than anything else produced by these mediocrities.
But while the race grifters were getting the publicity, plus the jobs, grants and other goodies, they were in some ways just a distraction. For there were other beneficiaries.
Allegations of ‘racism’, campaigns to bestow ‘inclusivity’ and other joys, or funding and appointments, are all used to increase ‘Welsh Government’ influence over certain bodies, even to the point of total control.
Though the use of one tactic does not preclude the use of others. And once you appreciate what’s happening then a number of things become clear. For example, the contrived furore over rappers being banned from the National Eisteddfod was clearly a warning shot about the Eisteddfod’s all-Welsh rule.
With the Eisteddfod so dependent on ‘Welsh Government’ funding, and Vaughan Gething being Drakeford’s heir-apparent, things look bleak for the Gorsedd.
Jessica Dunrod’s sinecure at Amgueddfa Cymru as project manager of decolonising collections was perhaps a result of similar manoeuvring.
Yes, it actually says: “The Black Lives Matter movement has fast-tracked conversations about the stories that our collections and displays present, calling for us to confront history and challenge present-day injustices.”
Because so much of what passes for debate on the subject of race and racism is simply slogans imported, without adaptation, from the USA, often unfit for purpose in Europe; and especially in Wales, which had neither an empire nor slavery, and is itself a victim of colonialism.
This wholesale importation of Americanisms extends to the spelling “de-colonization” in the job advert.
One final word on Jessica Dunrod, who sees racism everywhere, to the point of absurdity.
You’ll recall the case of nurse Lucy Letby, who was recently convicted for the deaths of a number of babies in Chester. As far as I’m aware, all the babies were White, a number of them born to Welsh parents.
Well, someone tweeting as ‘Dr Ruby’, somehow linked these killings to the bizarre case of a woman kicking a big horse, and believes that the tragedy of the murdered babies and the horse incident can be attributed to “white supremacist structures“.
And Jessica Dunrod agrees, for she retweeted it.
How unhinged, how obsessed with ‘racism’, do you have to be to see white supremacist structures (whatever they might be) in the Lucy Letby case?
Or to put it another way, how far down the woke rabbit-hole do otherwise sane people have to fall to not call this out for what it is?
SELECTIVE ATTITUDES TO SLAVERY
Slavery is all the rage nowadays.
Well, obviously not the real thing, or certainly not in Western countries, but talk of it often dominates certain political discussions. Based on the absurd premise that slavery was only and ever practised by White people against Black Africans.
And for this, we White folks must be forever repentant. All of us.
I do not believe in collective guilt, even less in inherited guilt. We don’t blame all Germans for WWII, or all Americans for the unspeakable horror that is basketball. And if my great-great-great-great-grandfather killed somebody then that was something he did and for which he alone was and remains responsible.
Similarly with slavery. Though others choose to see it differently.
One of those being Malik Al Nasir, described in the article below as “a poet and an author”, also a PhD history student at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge. He has focused on former MP and Assembly Member Antoinette Sandbach.
It seems that she had a slave-owning ancestor named Samuel Sandbach and Al Nasir wanted everyone to know. This resulted in death threats for Sandbach.
The article doesn’t tell us when Samuel Sandbach flourished, but seeing as Britain outlawed slavery in 1833/34, it had to be over 200 years ago.
Come to that, how many Black Africans were enslaved by Muslims over the centuries? Why is it, as this article suggests, “a taboo subject“?
Well, we know why, don’t we? (And if you don’t know, then keep reading.)
After all is said and done, Al Nasir is free to condemn the trans-Atlantic slave trade, but he should be honest enough to accept that slavery was universal.
And by the same token, I am free to condemn the countries of the Sahel, and Turkey, for their part in enslaving millions of White, Christian Europeans in the same time frame as the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
The more I think about the left’s attitude to slavery the more I see the response from the same quarter to ’emissions’ and fossil fuels. China can open a coal-fired power station every other day, the same with India and other countries . . . but climate change is still the fault of Western countries currently impoverishing their populations with degrowth strategies in pursuit of Net Zero.
Which should tell you that it’s not really about slavery, or emissions. These are just elements of the Globalist agenda being implemented to undermine the West.
WHITE BUGGERS ON BIKES
We turn now to someone who’s appeared on this blog before, it’s Gareth James, who runs Irie’s Rum Bar and Reggae Lounge in Aberystwyth. He appeared in Welsh Independence And The Left, back in January.
He got a mention because Aberystwyth seemed to be home to a number of those I wrote about, with Gareth James himself, in his piece in the Cambrian News, arguing that Dyfed Powys Police should be more Woke!
(Most people would settle for them being awake.)
His most recent offering was in last week’s Cambrian News. It’s a truly strange, and worrying article, but it’s very clear that Gareth James has issues with middle-aged White men riding motorbikes.
I won’t dissect it too much, but a few questions must be asked.
If the problem is the noise he claims they make, does it really matter that these bikers Gareth James complains about are White? To put it another way, would the noise be acceptable if these, “elderly dickheads on ear-splitting motorbikes” were Black?
But then, he seems to think that if they were Black they wouldn’t be allowed anywhere near Aberystwyth. Thanks to un-Woke local Plod.
I know Aberystwyth prom, and I’ve seen the bikers parked near the Prom Diner many a time. Yes, there are a few preening wankers among them, but by and large they’re just ordinary blokes who like motorbikes, and like getting together to talk about motorbikes.
Some are middle class, but most are not. Many come up from the south. Let me make it absolutely clear that I’m thinking now of southern Wales, not Dixie.
I make that clear because the piece gave us another jarring Americanism with Gareth’s reference to Harley Davidsons. Jarring because I don’t think I’ve ever seen one on Aber’ prom.
But Gareth’s rant is obviously informed by American movies, and the perception that all-White motorcycle gangs are inherently racist.
Slow down, Gareth; it’s Aberystwyth promenade, not Sturgis, SD.
That sad piece says more about Gareth James than it says about the problems caused by a few middle-aged bikers in Aberystwyth.
Its confessional nature was disappointing because even though rum and reggae are not my thing I was still warming to Gareth James. Possibly because I’ve spent many happy hours – days, even! – in establishments of public resort wherein alcohol may be obtained.
To the extent that I believe there’s a special place in Heaven reserved for bar-keepers. And if I’m right, then, when my time comes, you’ll find me there on a bar stool.
But I’d rather spend eternity being served by a bosomy slapper (Black or White) who enjoys a risqué joke than being lectured on the evils of Whiteness by Gareth James.
If Jessica Dunrod was the best of those that applied for the post of decolonization (sic) officer at Amgueddfa Cymru then it don’t bear thinking about the unsuccessful candidates.
Malik Al Nasir is a wannabe academic riding a wave. Promoting himself by putting an innocent woman in danger was unforgiveable.
Gareth James really does need to take a long, hard look at the town and the country he lives in. It’s nowhere near as bad as he seems to think.
Combatting ‘racism’ has become a way for some to expose their own frailties by using the most absurd pretexts to attack White people. Thankfully, an increasing number of people, White and Black, see it for what it is. Which is why Dunrod, Al Nasir, James, and others, need to remember the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf.
Otherwise people will ignore them when the fascists really do appear.
For I see it now . . . hundreds of the noisy buggers, astride Harley Davidsons, demanding the immediate implementation of “white supremacist structures” as they ride up and down Aberystwyth prom seeking Gareth James.
This week’s offering kicks off with assorted musings from here and there before returning home to focus on issues that have caught my eye. And if these have a theme then it’s assorted companies and individuals pretending to be what they’re not. In this case, Welsh.
This is another biggie, just over 4,000 words, but you know the spiel – ‘nourishing, easily-digestible chunks, etc., etc‘.
First stop, England, where the Conservatives have committed electoral suicide by getting rid of Boris Johnson and now have to make the choice between Sunak and Truss! Like having to choose which foot to shoot yourself in.
I don’t know the minds of Tory politicians and strategists but I do know that among the working class – male and female – there’s always been a guilty liking for a roguish toff.
And that’s what Johnson is. Nobody ever accused him of having his hand in the till or anything heinous; it was a bit of bullshitting here, a few drinks there, and an over-fondness for the ladies.
Those ‘failings’ might mean some tosser needing to be fanned with a copy of the Guardian in Islington, but they wouldn’t have lost BoJo many votes in Scunthorpe, St Helens, or Sunderland.
“Grand lad is Boris”.
The only ray of sunshine for the Tories comes in the soporific form of Labour leader Keir Starmer.
Now across the Pond, to where Joe Biden – after two injections and two boosters – has caught Covid. Oh dear, what a pity, how sad.
Sleepy Joe is, without a doubt, the worst US president of my lifetime. And I remember Gerald Ford, of whom it was said that chewing gum and tying his shoelaces at the same time was too intellectually demanding.
Though in fairness, Ford could be relied on to do as he was told. Which explains how he got to serve on the Warren Commission looking into the JFK assassination.
Joe Biden clearly has dementia or a similar condition, and looming ever larger over his presidency are the multiple horrors contained in his son Hunter’s laptop.
Many of you will be unaware of this because the left-leaning mainstream media has largely ignored the story. They can’t deny it, because they’ve all read the e-mails and seen the videos. (And laughed along with the rest of us.)
In a nutshell, crack-smoking, sex-addicted Hunter saw himself as an international businessman. Making deals in China, Russia, Ukraine and other places by trading on his father’s name when dad was Obama’s VP.
Joe Biden’s brother James was certainly getting a cut and it looks increasingly likely that Joe himself was also in on it.
The problem is that Hunter just had to keep records. And they were all stored on a laptop he took to be repaired in Wilmington, Delaware, then forgot to collect it, and so the laptop became the property of the repair shop owner.
The only questions now are: 1/ How much longer can Sleepy Joe last? and 2/ What method will his party use to get rid of him?
Finally, in Ukraine, the war grinds on with Russian forces advancing slowly and steadily on all fronts. It seems likely that the whole of the Donbass will soon be in Russian hands, and so will large swathes of territory across the south, perhaps even lovely Odessa.
Basically, those areas where a majority of the population identify as Russian. Areas where the population was treated abominably by Ukrainian forces – often Nazi units – for protesting against the US-engineered Maidan coup of 2014.
This outcome could have been achieved by a plebiscite, but certain interests in the West were determined that corruption-ridden Ukraine, generously supplied with weapons and money – which will never be accounted for – should wage a proxy war.
Jugoslavia all over again; with Russia in the role of ‘baddie’ Serbia, and Ukraine playing the white hat parts of Croatian Ustaše fascists, Bosnian Muslims and their Jihadist allies, and the organ-harvesting, gun-running, drug-smuggling gangsters of the (Albanian) Kosovo Liberation Army
On the plus side . . . it looks like Russia turning off the gas taps has killed Net Zero.
Followed by a word-for-word ‘article’ in the Wasting Mule on Friday.
What most people don’t realise (because the media prefers not to tell us), is that electric cars, wind turbines, and solar panels, all need rare earth elements, and we are too reliant for these on China.
Being an expansionist Communist country China is obviously a potential enemy. Then there’s the fact that extracting these metals is dirty and dangerous work, which might be done by members of religious or ethnic minorities undergoing ‘re-education’.
Naturally, I got to wondering about the company involved in this exciting venture, named as, ‘Caerphilly-based Deregallera’. And that was the first disappointment, for the company seems to be based near Bradford, in West Yorkshire.
Though in fairness, it was at one time using a Caerphilly address. So let’s put that into its contextual timeline.
Deregallera began life in 2011 in Southampton. Then it was Pontypridd. Then in March 2013 it was down to Cardiff. September 2019 saw a move within Cardiff. In December 2020 it was over to Bristol. Then in April this year it was up to Bingley.
Getting further and further away from the claimed base in Caerffili.
Among them we see D G Innovate PLC. Which last year was taken over by Path Investments for £32m in a ‘reverse merger transaction’, according to the Annual Report and Financial Statements for Deregallera Ltd (March 2021).
D G Innovate was known by that name between 29.01.2021 and 05.04.2022. Before that it was Deregallera Holdings Ltd (from formation 26.11.2009). And now, since April 5, it’s Deregallera Holdings again!
God, this is confusing! With all the name changes, all the comings and goings of directors, do those involved know which company is which any more?
Talking of directors, D G Innovate PLC seems to have recruited a few this year.
I’m sure they’ll be very happy together in what is obviously another great Welsh venture.
As far as I’m concerned, the jury is out on this one. Those involved have got their hands on money from a fund administered by the ‘Welsh Government’ (which often spells disaster), but how much of that money Wales will see is another matter.
One to watch.
‘WE’RE WELSH, HONEST!’
Another company desperately trying to prove it’s Welsh is our old friend, Bute Energy. Which began life in London, then used an Edinburgh address, but now most Bute companies also use a broom cupboard in Hodge House, Cardiff.
Named of course after Julian Hodge, banker to the Labour Party. Friend and confidante of PM Jim Callaghan and George “Order, Order!” Thomas.
Remember George, Lord Tonypandy? Even by the standards of the ‘Welsh’ Labour Party George Thomas was one of the most odious bastards ever to draw breath.
Not content with a Cardiff address to prove how Welsh it is Bute has recruited Dafydd Williams as a project manager to traverse the land addressing community councils and concerned locals, promising they’ll hardly notice 250 metre tall wind turbines . . . 36 here, another 30 there . . .
Is Dafydd a replacement for David George Taylor? For more on Taylor, and Bute’s Welsh Advisory Board, click here and scroll down to the section ‘Labour Party Freedom of Information Request’.
In search of enlightenment I joined a Zoom meeting of New Radnor community council a few weeks back, where I managed to put some questions to Dafydd Williams, but all I got in return was waffle.
One Bute site now threatened with 250m (to tip) turbines is Moelfre, inland of Abergele. To put that into perspective, the turbines put up 15 – 20 years ago were rarely more than 100m (often less), the turbines at Pen-y-Cymoedd are 145m.
The proposal for Nant Mithil is for 36 x 220m (to hub) turbines, with ‘solar energy and battery technology’ not ruled out.
In both the Moelfre protest leaflet and the Bute briefing paper for Nant Mithil you will have seen reference to these being in a ‘Pre-Assessed Area for Wind Energy in Future Wales: The National Plan 2040’. Here’s a link to that document.
On page 94 you’ll find the map you see below. The areas bordered in black have been given over to wind farms. Planning permission is virtually guaranteed. Local resistance will prove futile. (Certainly, that’s the hope in Corruption Bay.)
Moelfre is in area 1, and Nant Mithil in area 4. Though sources tell me that as much as 75% of Bute’s 200 hectare Nant Mithil site is outside area 4. It’ll be interesting to see how that pans out.
Other news is that new directors, Forrest, Gruescu and Parkhouse, have joined the gang in certain companies. Aberedw Energy Park Ltd being one. These new boys represent the interests of Bute’s Danish investors.
I’ll try to avoid some of the rumours I’ve been hearing . . . oh, what the hell!
One has Green Man boss Fiona Stewart telling Minister for Economy – ‘economy’! – Vaughan Gething that if the ‘Welsh Government’ didn’t buy her a farm she would move the Green Man Festival to England.
Another wanted me to believe that the Green Man will move to Gilestone farm in 2026 because current host, Harry Legge-Bourke of the Glanusk Estate, is getting a divorce. Which seems rather protracted. And why should a divorce make any difference?
Finally, some believe there has long been a relationship between Fiona Stewart and former Gilestone owner, Charles Weston. I had to confirm that this was a business relationship not, er . . . well, you know.
I could find nothing linking them. To help my enquiries I drew up a table of Fiona Stewart’s companies. Which makes strange reading.
Throughout this saga we’ve been told that the ‘Welsh Government’ has been dealing with the Green Man Festival. Yet the company, Green Man Festival Ltd, formed September 2015, has always filed as a dormant company. The only director, Fiona Stewart.
What’s more, Green Man is controlled by Tree Trunk Ltd. Formed May 2012, this also files as a dormant company. And it’s behind with its filings to Companies House.
Two of the four directors / trustees are Stewart and long-time business associate, Ian Myers Fielder, with these two exercising control. The other directors / trustees are Natasha Hale, and Joanna Owen, a solicitor working for Commission for Equality and Human Rights in London.
Flicking through the accounts I was struck by some of the other funders, Performing Rights Society Foundation, Ashley Family Foundation, and Cardiff University.
Then, a few days ago, a secretary was appointed, Joana Margarida Martins Rodrigues. Clearly Portuguese, perhaps one of the many Lusitanians to be found in Crughywel.
If we look at the total income for the Green Man Trust we see that it’s risen from £152,643 in year ending 31.12.2020 to £347,417 in y/e 31.12.2021. Which means that the income more than doubled, and is perhaps more than the Trust knows what to do with.
I suggest that because the latest accounts show £266,835 as ‘cash at bank and in hand’.
An interesting contribution to the Gilestone saga came a couple of weeks back from senior civil servant Andrew Slade. To give him his title, Director General, Economy, Skills and Natural Resources.
Here’s the article, in which Slade says that Gilestone may not be a done deal, but also describing the Green Man Festival as the “jewel in Wales’ crown”. A curious remark, and an indicator of Slade’s ignorance of Wales.
Most of those who attend come from England. Many more Welsh people go to the National Eisteddfod, then there’s ‘The Show’ (which was on last week), and even Dolgellau’s Sesiwn Fawr. I wouldn’t expect Slade to know much about the first or the third, but he’s been to Llanelwedd a few times.
It wouldn’t be stretching it to describe the Green Man Festival as an event for the English middle classes, for less than a quarter of the attendees live in Wales.
I even found a photo of Slade with a bunch of young farmers. (He’s right centre.) Next to him, carefully coiffed, is Gary Haggaty, looking as if he’s about to go on stage to give Mr and Mrs Gripe of Wisbech the chance to win a week for two in sunny Scunthorpe.
Both Slade and Haggaty have appeared on this blog before. They are civil servants with Defra backgrounds, sent down to keep the natives in check and do whatever damage they could to Welsh farming.
In The Welsh Clearances from October 2018 I used an image from January 2014 of Slade alongside Alun Davies, then Minister for Natural Resources and Food, as Davies announced taking EU funding from farmers and turning it over to ‘Rural Development Projects’. (And we all know what that means!)
Haggaty eventually shacked up with his boss, Lesley Griffiths.
I quote from her official bio: ‘Lesley was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs on 3 November 2017. On 13 December 2018 Lesley was appointed Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs. On 13 May 2021 Lesley was appointed Minister for Rural Affairs, North Wales and Trefnydd’.
Enough of digression, back to Fiona Stewart and her companies.
The only company I can find that seems to have any serious money is Plantpot Ltd; originally GMF Festival Ltd, before changing into Pot Plant Ltd. This is also controlled by Tree Trunk Ltd.
And let’s remind ourselves that Tree Trunk Ltd is a dormant company behind with its Companies House filings.
At the end of 2020 Plantpot had £1,179,096 ‘cash at bank and in hand’. Up from £656,213 the previous year. Not bad considering the Covid ‘pandemic’. But most of this money is owed to unidentified creditors. Who are they?
With £169,900 owed to ‘group undertakings’. So does this mean it’s owed to other companies in the Tree Trunk group?
Another concern is that there’s no indication of where the £1m+ in cash came from. What we have instead of audited accounts for Plantpot Ltd is an ‘Unaudited Financial Statement’ made out by Ms Stewart herself.
I’m not suggesting dishonesty, but I am saying there’s a lack of clarity. Which might not matter had the ‘Welsh Government’ not paid £4.25m for Gilestone farm.
Because if the Green Man is the major event it’s said to be, then it must take in millions of pounds, so where is that money accounted for? It certainly doesn’t go through any company using the Green Man name. Is there a company I’ve missed?
If we go back to the table of Fiona Stewart’s companies we see that the newest is Cwningar Ltd, formed in February this year, with its formation almost certainly linked to the purchase of Gilestone farm.
Which is why I suspect that talk of an agreement between the ‘Welsh Government’ and the Green Man Festival is misleading. Fiona Stewart is the Green Man. I believe the farm was bought for Fiona Stewart herself. And for some new venture loosely connected with the Green Man.
I suggest that because Ms Stewart is nothing if not well connected in Cardiff.
This article from May 2017 says, ‘Cardiff University and Green Man will build upon their existing partnership’. Fiona Stewart gushed . . .
“Green Man works with world class talent and Cardiff University is one of the most respected universities on the planet, so it’s definitely top of the bill with me.”
(Pass the sick bag!)
Then think back to the item about the electric car motor, telling us that ‘academics at Cardiff University’ are involved. Dafydd Williams of Bute Energy ‘holds a BSc and MSc from Cardiff University’s School of City and Regional Planning’.
Cardiff University is almost an extension of the ‘Welsh Government’. If you’re well in with Cardiff Uni then doors – and cheque books – open for you in Corruption Bay.
And if, like Fiona Stewart, you’re also connected to Coleg Soros Talgarth, then you can write your own cheque. Which may explain how she acquired Gilestone.
Does anyone really think there are 1,500 jobs created on site? If so, there must be almost as many people working at the festival as there are attending!
And no matter what the figure is, those are very, very temporary jobs.
Like I say, bullshit!
We live in dangerous times.
Obviously, there’s a war in Ukraine. But then we have supranational organisations like the World Health Organisation and the World Economic Forum trying to impose themselves as some kind of unelected global government.
And recently we’ve had to put up with the swivel-eyed who got really swivelly because of a few fine days – in July! You could sense their disappointment when the bodies weren’t piling up in the streets; their ‘We warned you!’ taunts dying on their lips.
All joking aside, one threat, a very real threat, is shaping up under our noses, with the full support of the ‘Welsh Government’ and the Corruption Bay establishment. Because both have been infiltrated, indoctrinated, or intimidated into supporting Stonewall.
For Stonewall, which started out defending and promoting the interests of gays and lesbians, is now nothing more than a group getting ever more extreme in its promotion of ‘trans rights’ and other issues.
Stonewall is favoured in Corruption Bay, we know that from the amount of funding it’s received from the ‘Welsh Government’.
Seeing as the Wales Council for Voluntary Action is also funded by the ‘Welsh Government’ the total comes to £241,781. Only UK government departments gave more to Stonewall in the period covered.
Specifically, the Equality Act 2010. There are 9 protected characteristics under the Act, and this is how the ‘Welsh Government’ interpreted them. They’re correct apart from the one I’ve highlighted.
What the Act protects is gender reassignment. That is, someone who has undergone surgery. Stonewall would like it to promote ‘chicks with dicks’, and give free rein to male sexual predators pretending to be women.
The ‘Welsh Government’ chose to accept Stonewall’s wishful thinking over the law. And then desperately tried to explain its mistake as being in ‘the spirit of the law’.
The spirit of the law can be elusive, a difficult thing to pin down. But there can be no mistaking the letter of the law. In this case it is quite unambiguous. (Doesn’t the ‘Welsh Government’ have lawyers?)
The ‘Welsh Government’ got it wrong because it listened to Stonewall. That’s because Stonewall has allies in the Bay among Labour insiders.
Which helped Stonewall influence the new curriculum for Welsh schools. But the fightback has started. There will now be a judicial review of the ‘Welsh Government’s proposals.
But it doesn’t end there, for Stonewall also wants to corrupt pre-school children. Those who attend playgroups. Here’s a tweet put out by Stonewall last week.
When asked to produce the ‘research’ referred to, Stonewall was unable to do so.
Make no mistake, Stonewall wants to push its vile agenda that results in mutilating confused kids into every sphere of our lives, and certain elements on the Left will give all the assistance they can.
Of course, many nursery or pre-school groups in Wales are run by Mudiad Meithrin. Which has, unfortunately, also been infiltrated.
When I look at the Mudiad Meithrin board of directors I can see a few possible advocates for this dangerous nonsense. One in particular, who was deeply involved in attempts last year to turn YesCymru into TransCymru.
Another, who has recently left the Mudiad Meithrin board, also did great damage to YesCymru before moving on to other things. I’m told he played a big part in turning Cymdeithas yr Iaith Woke.
Stonewall has walked into a trap of its own making. When you argue there is an ever-expanding universe of genders you will inevitably attract the exhibitionists and the unhinged, and the general public will stop taking you seriously.
Start talking about the sexuality of children and you’ll draw the perverts and the paedophiles. And then the general public will start seeing you as a threat.
An organisation in Stonewall’s position has two options:
Paddle back and regain some credibility.
Keep paddling furiously for the rapids and prove your critics right.
Stonewall seems to have chosen the second option. Which is bad news for them, but I won’t be shedding any tears.
We must protect our kids from discredited and dangerous beliefs promoted by a few influential individuals who decided those beliefs were ‘progressive’, then bullied others into accepting Stonewall’s lunacies.
It’s time for the ‘Welsh Government’, Mudiad Meithrin, and others, to paddle back, and to root out the influence of Stonewall from all areas of Welsh life.
♦ end ♦
August is normally a slow month for news so, unless the Gorsedd starts an insurrection, the ‘Welsh Government’ announces major investment outside of Cardiff, or Powys is invaded by enviroshysters (damn! too late for that one!), I’ll be back, bright eyed and bushy-tailed, in September.
As the title suggests, this week’s offering is a miscellany, bits and pieces from hither and yon. Covering . . .
Wind turbine disposal.
Fears for the planning system in the north west.
Awkward locals opposing the hundreds of executive homes Aberdyfi so desperately needs.
A development in the ongoing saga of the Llanbedr by-pass.
A new environmental group (cos we haven’t got enough).
More on Gilestone farm.
My unanswered FoI to the ‘Welsh’ Labour Party.
‘Welsh Government’ funds National Trust (cos NT’s a bit short at the moment).
Is ‘Welsh Government’ flogging off executive homes in Cardiff?
Enviroloonies saving Wales from the curse of employment.
Stumping up for the ‘Welsh Government’s favourite farmer.
‘Welsh Government’ wants more trees . . . but fewer farmers.
Enlarging the Senedd, or making the pig-sty bigger.
This is a monster issue, over 5,000 words; but you can take it a piece at a time. And because it is such a substantial offering late in the week, don’t expect anything next week.
WHERE WILL ALL THE TURBINES GO?
A couple of weeks ago I submitted a Freedom of Information request to the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ asking who was responsible for disposing of wind turbines when they come to the end of their working lives.
Given that the lifespan of a turbine is 15 – 25 years we must have in Wales a few hundred turbines approaching decrepitude. With hundreds more in their ‘middle age’, and plans in the system to erect God knows how many others. (Bute Energy alone wants 20 new wind farms.)
It seems to me to be an important question. Hence the FoI request.
It tells me that, ‘Responsibility for decommissioning wind turbines lies with the developer/operator of the site’.
Richard Spear of the Planning Inspectorate concludes his response with: ‘In addition, developers/operators should ensure that sufficient finance is set aside to enable them to meet restoration obligations. A local planning authority may require financial guarantees by way of a Section 106 planning obligation / agreement, as part of the approval of planning permission to ensure that restoration will be fully achieved.’
It’s worth pointing out that in most cases it was the ‘Welsh Government’ that gave planning permission for wind turbines, often over-riding local authorities. The ‘Welsh Government’ should therefore have seen to it that each developer paid a ‘bond’, up front, to ensure there will be enough money to restore each site.
But those buffoons down Corruption Bay were so concerned with making ‘planet-saving’ gestures that they couldn’t see beyond their own wagging fingers.
I predict with certainty that in the near future, we – by which I mean Wales – will find ourselves lumbered with ‘orphan’ wind turbines that will cost us a hell of a lot of money to demolish. And then more money to restore the sites they’ve come from.
On the plus side, it means that turbine blades from the Continent can come to landfill sites in Wales!
Should this come to pass then it will doubtless be claimed as ‘foreign investment’.
WILD WEST SHOW?
I am indebted to a regular source for news of concerns about the Gwynedd and Môn Joint Planning Policy Committee. To be clear, this is not the planning committee, deciding on planning applications, but the policy committee that determines in more general terms where development will be allowed.
Although Gwynedd is a large council in area, much of the planning responsibility falls to the Snowdonia National Park; which leaves the council to oversee a few ‘islands’ – Tywyn, Barmouth, Blaenau Ffestiniog – then Porthmadog and Llŷn, and finally, the northern coastal strip taking in Caernarfon and Bangor and running to Abergwyngregyn.
For like many rural authorities Ynys Môn is prone to being controlled by a few forceful individuals, often holding sway through membership of an organisation claiming to be heirs to the Knights Templar and other exotic fraternities.
Never more true than in keeping to the Templar talent for accruing wealth. Though I’m unsure if the medieval predecessors were as cunning as their heirs in planning matters and the allocation of contracts.
For who could forget Ceredigion when Dai Lloyd Evans and his merry men ruled the roost? Those were the days! The late Paul Flynn, sitting on the House of Commons Welsh Affairs Select Committee, referred to Ceredigion Council as “The Wild West Show”.
But then, as we saw in Carmarthenshire during the halcyon days of Mark James, sometimes, with largely rural authorities, the boss man doesn’t even have to be a councillor.
My source’s concern is that the chairman of the joint planning policy committee is a member of this group to which I have alluded. And while I’m sure he’s a splendid fellow, with a good firm handshake, I can understand my source’s misgivings.
Someone else giving my informant food for thought is the young man who’s now Senior Executive Officer at Gwynedd’s Housing and Property Department.
Don’t get me wrong, he’s an educated boy, studied . . . Welsh, and, er . . . Music.
But then, it is suggested by cynics that the boy’s father’s friendship with Gwynedd’s Head of Finance may have played a role in the appointment.
O tempora! O mores!
ABERDYFI EXECUTIVES MUST BE HOUSED!
When I first saw this news item I thought to myself, ‘Hang on, Jones, isn’t this the development Ann Clwyd was banging on about decades ago?’ And I’m sure it is.
For the woman who went on to become MP for the Cynon Valley has connections to Aberdyfi and the wider Dysynni area. I have a photo of a young Ann Clwyd with my sister-in-law when the latter was the village carnival queen back in the mid-sixties.
It’s difficult to comprehend how this project has resurfaced, or why it wasn’t killed off decades ago. What does it say about our planning system?
Aberdyfi may be a sizeable village; a few pubs, a few caffs, shops, and an unhealthy number of estate agents. But it backs up to a cliff, with the sea on the other side, and there’s just one road in and out, the A493. A crash or some other hold-up on that road and Aberdyfi is almost inaccessible except by boat or helicopter.
Sticking to housing, Aberdyfi may be the financial, commercial, and industrial hub of the south Meirionnydd coast, but the village needs 401 ‘executive homes’ like our cat needs fleas.
One of the more intriguing stories to make the news recently was the report that Gwynedd County Council is to appeal to the UK government for funding to build the Llanbedr by-pass, a project cancelled last year by the ‘Welsh Government’.
The reason this is intriguing is because the council is controlled by Plaid Cymru, and down in Corruption Bay that party is in cahoots with the local branch of the Labour Party, an arrangement generally referred to as an ‘alliance’.
Though the Senedd Member representing Llanbedr seems to be going out of his way to piss off his supposed allies.
Last month he dared ask the ‘Welsh Government’ why it paid £4.25m for Gilestone farm when the asking price appeared to be £3.25m. A good question. We’d all like to hear the answer. (More on Gilestone below.)
Another explanation might be that despite most Plaid SMs self-flagellating for the heinous sins of the White man and the harm they themselves do the planet by simply existing, many Plaid supporters still associate ‘woke’ with getting up in the morning.
They inhabit the real world where decent infrastructure and communications still matter. That mythic land far, far away, where people have to drive to work. And to the shops. To the doctor, dentist, etc., etc.
You know, the Welsh countryside, of which Labour is so wilfully ignorant.
I’ve tweeted a few times about this rather mysterious group, I may even have mentioned it here, on the blog. One reason I call it mysterious is because all I knew about it was gleaned from a GoFundMe page. (You’ll see there’ve been two donations in the past three months.)
Another reason for the ‘mysterious’ tag was that neither the website nor the GoFundMe page gave any names. And I get rather suspicious of organisations that run themselves.
And when you read the justification for Tir Natur you immediately think, ‘Hang on, I’ve read that before!’ And so you have, many times. It probably comes from an environmental / rewilding template available online.
Now a source informs me that Tir Natur has finally gone legit and registered as a charity. This move is mentioned on the GoFundMe page, though when I checked a few days ago it hadn’t been updated since the application in March to the Charity Commission.
The contact address given on the Charity Commission website is, ‘Y Beudy, Lanlwyd, Pennant, Llanon, Ceredigion SY23 5JH’. This is on the B4577 between Cross Inn and Llanarth.
To confuse the picture, the GoFundMe page says, ‘Newport, Pembrokeshire’. Though my source and I suspect those involved don’t live in either Ceredigion or Pembrokeshire.
And does Wales really need yet another environmental / rewilding group?
My source has now sent me this from a recent release by Tir Natur. Knowing more of such things than I he tells me that the image shows a European bison and a golden eagle. Neither of which of course is native to Wales.
They were introduced to the Trust’s other site in Devon, but removed due to fears of bTB. And they had to leave another site in Scotland when the government concluded they were dangerous and non-native.
I was a bit perplexed by the reference in the second FoI to the ‘James Report’. And then it came back to me . . .
Julie James, the current Minister for Climate Change in the ‘Welsh Government’ has been involved with Gilestone for many years, before she was even elected to what was then the Welsh Assembly in 2011.
It’s a strange affair, with some dark corners, some very dark corners indeed. What I’ve been told involves the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, certain environmental busybodies, previous owners of Gilestone and a supporting cast that includes a retired Met cop with an ‘interesting’ record.
And of course, Julie James, then a solicitor in Swansea; whose relationship with some of those involved is worth looking into. No, nothing like that. (Really!)
I may be in a position to say more in the near future.
Also worth mentioning is that a number of people are convinced the money to buy Gilestone came from Julie James’ department’s piggy-bank.
If true, then why did Vaughan Gething, Minister for Economy, take the rap in the Senedd? Maybe his ignorance of the deal explains why he spent so much time extoling the virtues of the Green Man festival rather than answering questions he’d been asked about the purchase of Gilestone.
Though another explanation for the delayed accounts might be that the ‘Welsh Government’ is virtually broke. For that’s what another source tells me.
If true, then this might explain the Llanbedr by-pass and other projects being scrapped.
‘O what a tangled web we weave . . . ‘.
LABOUR PARTY FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST
As you know, I’ve written about Bute Energy a number of times. They even got a mention at the end of paragraph 2 in the first section of this post.
What became clear once I started looking into Bute’s activities in Wales was that this company had very quickly realised that Labour Party support would be a big help in realising its plans for 20+ wind farms.
Which explains why Bute recruited to its Welsh Advisory Board redundant Labour MEP Derek Vaughan, and John Uden, the partner of Labour MS Jenny Rathbone, who sits on the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee.
Quite what this Welsh Advisory Board advises on is not stated, but I think we can all guess. And the recruitment didn’t end there.
Also taken aboard the treasure ship Bute was David James Taylor, former spad to Labour stars, from Peter Hain to Rhodri Morgan and Carwyn Jones. Taylor was made a partner in Bute-linked outfit Grayling Capital LLP (though he’s since left), and also given shares in Windward Enterprises Ltd, another Bute company. (Which he still holds.)
It occurred to me that if Bute Energy was so keen to cwtsh up to Labour then political donations should be considered. And so I wrote to the Bruvvers’ HQ in Cardiff.
On June 8 I sent this e-mail:
‘Bute Energy Ltd (Co No: 12474011), in various guises, seeks to build – or at least, obtain planning permission for – some 20 wind farms in Wales. A company has been formed for each wind farm.
Has the Labour Party in Wales / ‘Welsh Labour’ party received a donation or donations from Bute Energy Ltd, or from companies under the Bute Energy umbrella, or from leading director Oliver James Millican, or from other persons, perhaps former employees of Labour politicians?’
But I have received neither acknowledgement nor reply. Can you believe that – the Comrades ignoring me!
The ‘Welsh Government’ has gifted an English organisation worth billions of pounds a Welsh asset and also handed over £700,000 for ‘capital investment’. From which the National Trust will profit, through charging visitors.
Many of whom will be Welsh.
And there will almost certainly be more than £700,000. For a well-informed contact with whom I shared this information in advance reminded me that the National Trust will now be eligible for Glastir woodland grants.
Note that this generosity is explained by quoting the “‘Welsh Government’ wellbeing objectives”. This refers to the Well-being of Future Generation (Wales) Act 2015. Airy-fairy nonsense that has since been used to justify every insanity hiding under the ‘environmental’ blanket.
Environmental concerns are used to disguise giving away our homeland piece by piece – ‘Cos we are savin’ the planet, like’.
The truth of course is that this legislation simply rolled out the red carpet for colonialist exploitation.
It even talks of future generations. But those future generations won’t be Welsh.
Main points seem to be that negotiations with the National Trust have been going on since June 2019; no one else was invited to express an interest; NRW has no idea why Dawn Bowden was involved; NRW will continue to manage the Hafod Estate forestry operation.
My attention has been drawn to this rather curious site which suggests some kind of partnership between the ‘Welsh Government’, the National Eisteddfod, and a company called LivEco, to build “sustainable homes at affordable prices”.
The location of these desirable properties being Great House Farm in Cardiff, between Culverhouse Cross and St Fagan’s National Museum of History.
So let’s look at this company, LivEco. Companies House tells us LivEco Homes Ltd was formed in September 2018, but it’s dormant. The sole director is a Welshman, Daniel James Ball, who seems to live in West Sussex.
Ball’s active company is Mulcare-Ball Ltd. The other director being a woman I assume to be his wife.
So why are we being asked to believe that a dormant company is building these dwellings at Great House Farm?
Mulcare-Ball has an arrangement (charge) with the Principality Building Society. Though the date given here is February 2, 2013, the document itself takes us back a year and also mentions Hale Construction Ltd.
If it’s this company, then Hale Construction was a one-man band on Merseyside, Incorporated December 2011 and Dissolved August 2015 without, apparently, making a penny.
Another company worth mentioning is Great House Farm Community Ltd, which I assume to be a residents’ association. This was Incorporated in March 2013, which makes sense; though the only director or member was Ball until June 25 last year. When he was replaced by two others using Great House addresses.
First, it tells us that Daniel James Ball and his wife bought this land in July 2009. We also learn that the properties built by Mulcare-Ball Ltd are being leased rather than sold.
The ‘Welsh Government’ has more than once expressed a desire to phase out leasehold in Wales, so why is it in partnership with a company building properties to lease?
Or, to put it another way, why does the ‘Welsh Government’ need to be involved at all? The same question could be asked of the Eisteddfod.
I may return to this subject.
The Aberpergwm mine, near Glyn-Neath, produces highest quality anthracite coal that is used for all manner of purposes, including water filtration. But it will not be chucked on a fire or shovelled into a furnace.
And it is a standard, commercial entity. Not a Community Interest Company (CIC), or any form of community benefit framework. I suspect it claims to be an umbrella group for smaller, more local organisations.
Though I’m not aware of any genuinely local opposition at Aberpergwm itself. Certainly not from the 200 or so people who work there. Nor from the businesses benefitting from the money those workers put into the local economy.
The address given for the Coal Action Network is Halton Mill, in Lancaster, north west England, owned by Green property developer Lancaster Cohousing. Which suggests it’s little more than an accommodation address for CAN. They certainly don’t get a mention on the website.
It would be easy to dismiss the Coal Action Network as just another little gang of over-excited eco zealots. But these groups often front for bigger players, or there’s serious money behind them.
So be watchful out there. Protect Welsh jobs and Welsh interests from the misguided attention of the brainwashed foot-soldiers of the World Economic Forum and others with globalist agendas designed to crush the little guy. Agendas enthusiastically endorsed by socialists.
And, finally, look out for these clowns sending letters to local papers, lobbying politicians, and pretending they’re local objectors.
Though cut through the enviro-bullshit and SUFT seems to be little more than a greenwashing operation for Utility Warehouse.
Most of those involved with SUFT have either relocated to Wales or don’t even live in Wales. For as with all these ‘conservation’ land grabs, Welsh involvement is minimal.
Though the website informs us, of the man in the photograph, and founder of SUFT, ‘Dr Keith Powell is a seventh-generation Black Mountains farmer and a vet’. Though I don’t think he’s actually done much farming, and came home when he realised there was serious money to be made in trees.
Stump Up For Trees is registered as a charity. Though when I went to the Charity Commission website to check the details I was somewhat surprised not to see Powell listed as a trustee. I assume the desired impression is that of hands-off trustees.
Then he and his companion on the US trip (and at the debriefing), Keri Davies, set up the Beacons Water Group. And do you know who joined them at BWG – none other than Charles Weston, the man who sold Gilestone to the ‘Welsh Government’ for the ludicrous sum of £4.25m!
As if that wasn’t enough, another BWG director, Tony Martineau, teaches at Coleg Soros, Talgarth. While George Soros’ favourite educational establishment, Bard College, has links with the Watershed Agricultural Council, the hosts for the 2018 US trip.
Enough! Old Jac can’t take any more connections.
Why should the ‘Welsh Government’s favourite farmer be involved with Stump Up For Trees? Then again, why not, he seems to be involved in everything else?
To make sense of the ‘Welsh Government’s latest assault on the farming industry you must understand the Labour Party’s relationship with the Welsh countryside.
Labour has no MPs and no SMs representing rural constituencies. For these seats either vote Conservative, Plaid Cymru or, irregularly, usually in Powys, Liberal Democrat.
It wasn’t always so.
There was a time within living memory when Labour could rely on the votes of farm labourers, and even smaller farmers. Also, other rural, working class people. The Merionethshire seat – now part of Dwyfor Meirionnydd and held by Plaid Cymru for almost 50 years – was a straight fight between Labour, centred on the slate town of Blaenau Ffestiniog, and the Liberals, still relying to a great extent on the chapel vote.
Then came the 1960s, and the national reawakening. The protests and the bombs. Tryweryn, Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru (MAC), the Free Wales Army (FWA), Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg CyIG) . . . and the rise of Plaid Cymru.
Labour now saw its hegemony in Wales threatened by a new force that it believed to be essentially rural in character. Certainly rural in origin. And Labour has been wary of the countryside, and its native inhabitants, ever since.
In many Labour politicians this suspicion became outright and undisguised hostility.
The rise of the environmental movement, coupled with the powers given by devolution, have allowed the Labour Party through successive ‘Welsh Governments’ to exert control over rural areas where it has little or no electoral support. While more recently, under the influence of ‘environmentalists’ eyeing Welsh land, exacting what can only be interpreted as revenge.
Which brings us up to date.
Labour’s activists in rural areas tend to be English, middle class, vegetarian (if not vegan, or subsisting entirely on water and good karma), most of them climate / environment ranters who compare hard-working farmers to concentration camp guards.
Though this latest pronunciamiento from Corruption Bay also helps us understand the long-term objectives. And makes a few other things clear.
The ‘Welsh Government is attempting a divide and rule strategy with farmers. Certain farmers are being wooed, and so perhaps is the National Farmers Union. And it seems to be working.
It’s no coincidence that these favoured farmers tend to be Tory-voters, on better land, suited to tree planting, and in almost exclusively English-speaking areas.
Which means that the excluded farmers are more likely to be found on marginal land, more difficult for growing trees, possibly tenant farmers, and certainly more likely to be Welsh speaking. (And Farmers Union of Wales members?)
In fact, areas such as the Summit to Sea rewilding project was hoping – with ‘Welsh Government’ support – to take over. The areas from where Labour, in the 1960s, perceived the ‘threat’ to have emerged.
Which means that this assault on farmers might be interpreted as an attack on the Welsh language, and Welsh rural culture in general. If so, then the politicos in Corruption Bay, and the enviroshyster land-grabbers whispering in their ears, are in for a fight.
Predictably, the announcement was welcomed by Kate Beavan. Who’s she? You haven’t been paying attention, or following the links, have you?
Kate Beavan may have been recruited to Coed Cymru by director Philip David Jayne, who lives in Crughywel.
Yet more bloody connections!
To explain . . .
Coed Cymru is one of the 357 (and rising) ‘woodland’ groups currently operating in Wales. Fighting like ferrets in a sack to take over Welsh land and get their sweaty mitts on Welsh public funding.
When you check out the Companies House entry for Coed Cymru Cyf you realise that, despite the company name, there’s little Welsh involvement.
But plenty of Welsh funding.
‘Plus ça change . . . ‘.
UKRAINE AND THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM
It would be inhuman to suggest that anything good is coming from the death and suffering in Ukraine. And I won’t do that, but harsh lessons are being learnt.
Among them, the realisation that to pretend an advanced economy can rely on intermittent renewables to supply its energy needs is madness. As Germany is learning.
The drive for ‘Net Zero’, orchestrated by The United Nations and the World Economic Forum, is taking hits daily as collateral damage from the conflict in Ukraine. With Germany perhaps the biggest loser.
We are in dangerous times. Supranational bodies like those mentioned want to regulate all aspects of human behaviour. They have captured many national governments, media outlets, and social media giants, who are urged to suppress divergent views as ‘disinformation’.
The justification being that the planet is in grave danger, and so we need to be saved from ourselves . . . all for our own good, of course.
With the result that we are sleepwalking into a form of totalitarianism that sits astride the unicorn of environmentalism.
And this is another reason we – through arming and exploiting brave Ukrainians – are waging war on Russia – because Vladimir Putin refused to bow to these supranational tyrants.
But the ‘Welsh Government’ surrendered long ago. And gave up Wales for sacrifice.
But part of the bigger package was a change in how Senedd members will be elected in future. And this proved much more contentious. With four constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) – Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda, Swansea East, Llanelli – voting against.
To explain . . .
Under revised parliamentary boundaries Wales will have 32 Westminster seats. (Down from the current 40.) What Labour proposes (and Plaid Cymru presumably agrees with) is that these new constituencies should be paired, giving us 16, and that each of them should elect six Senedd Members, thus making up the 96 total.
This is to be done using the ‘closed list’ system. Voters choose a party and have to then accept the party’s choice of candidates.
This is a system designed to favour larger parties and to inhibit the emergence of new parties. Which is no more than we should expect from Labour. For like so many political parties with a socialist heritage Labour is fundamentally undemocratic.
I’m still waiting for Labour’s partner in the current alliance down Corruption Bay to explain why it’s gone along with this system. Though I get the impression Plaid would rather not discuss it.
Labour has tried desperately to polish this turd by promising gender equality. But as Labour has signed up to self-identification, and is a major financial backer of Stonewall, it will obviously accept as ‘women’ men who identify as women.
Which could mean that the new system, designed to achieve gender balance, actually gives us a lower percentage of biological females than we see in the Senedd today!
And then there are other minorities, those so vocal in “breaking down barriers” . . . most of which they themselves have erected. (Or simply imagined.) They’ll demand to be ‘excluded’ no longer. And because they support the Labour Party because the Labour Party funds them their wishes will be granted.
That could give us a Senedd in which the majority is grossly underrepresented.
But who cares – ‘Cos it’s progressive, innit!’
My position is that I do not accept this anti-democratic nonsense. And I would support the UK government stepping in to block it. In fact, I would support the UK government putting an end to devolution itself.
For devolution has delivered nothing to those with whom I identify.
Whereas the SNP in Scotland, returned time after time, has made many Scots believe their country could be even better with independence, here in Wales, the incompetence and waste our people have experienced from malleable mediocrities in Corruption Bay for 23 years makes too many Welsh believe that independence would be even worse.
I remain a nationalist who wants independence, but I see devolution not as a stepping-stone but an obstacle. Maybe that was the intention all along.
And when you think back to what you’ve read here, can you disagree?
When someone drew my attention to the Green Man festival being gifted a farm by the so-called ‘Welsh Government’ I thought to myself, “I’m sure I’ve written about those buggers recently”; but no, I was thinking of the Green Gathering.
There are just so many using the ‘Green’ label, desperately trying to look enviro-virtuous! Bullshit, most of the time.
The more recent story I’m referring to appeared last Friday on the BBC Wales website. A strange piece in many ways. For a start, why would the ‘Welsh Government’ buy a farm and then hand it over to people running a music event?
As is so often the case in these investigations, one thing leads to another. And that’s what happened here.
As you’ve seen from the link above, the story begins with, Gilestone farm, near Talybont-on-Usk. The property can be found on the map below, with the farm name highlighted in the centre.
To understand what’s happening now, and the anger it’s causing, we need to step back a bit, some 17 years.
And let’s introduce Geraint John Thomas, whose family has farmed in the Talybont area for centuries, maybe a millennium. He owned Gilestone Farm.
I won’t go into too much detail, partly because I may be meeting up with Geraint and his wife Chris early next week. But enough has already emerged to put out what you’re about to read.
Which will make any Part 2 I produce a kind of prequel. (Just think Godfather.)
Another reason for doing it this way is that my digging has unearthed intriguing links that may help us understand what’s happened at Gilestone.
Anyway, let’s sketch in the background. The problems began with planning permission granted by the Brecon Beacons National Park planning department in 2005 for caravans and camping at Gilestone farm.
By 2007 it had become clear that the BBNP, or certain individuals, had screwed up rather badly. (Which might explain the record being scrubbed, for I could find nothing on the BBNP website relating to that planning case.)
Then, just a year ago, their story was updated by WalesOnline. They’re obviously prospering . . . which is not always popular in socialist Wales.
But then, last Friday, all the bad memories were brought back with the report I linked to earlier. Though what I found odd was that neither the ‘Welsh Government’ nor the Green Man was prepared to talk to the media, so who leaked the story?
“We had sheds burnt down, we were banned from local shops and pubs, the children were bullied every day in school- it was horrific All because we had planning for a caravan park, and the locals did not want valleys people there The welsh government were instrumental in what happened to us-
HANDS ACROSS THE POND
The man who bought Gilestone Farm from Geraint and Chris Thomas was Charles William Weston, who made the purchase in the name of Sharpness and Severn Transport Ltd, which has been renamed – rather modestly – CWW Farming Ltd.
I had trouble figuring out exactly what Weston owned at Gilestone because the property seems to have been broken up into a number of different titles. There is even an instance of the same title number relating to different sections of the overall holding.
To keep himself busy, Weston has also joined the recently-formed Beacons Water Group CIC (BWG). An interesting outfit this, which you’ll be reading more about.
There are six directors. Four have surnames we’d expect to find in a Welsh farmers’ organisation, the other two are Weston, and Anthony Hugh Martineau. The latter lives on a farm and is also Head of Sustainability at Map of Ag.
Another member is Richard James Roderick, chairman of the Brecon and Radnor branch of the National Farmers Union (NFU).
The BWG is generally described as a “farmer-led” group set up to guarantee water quality in the area. And who could argue with that? As ever, the truth is rather more complex. Let’s start with this extract from the BWG 2021 accounts.
We learn the inspiration for the Beacons Water Group came from Dŵr Cymru / Welsh Water, following a visit made to the Catskills region of New York state. The Catskills form the northern end of the Appalachian mountain chain.
The Catskills initiative is called the Watershed Agricultural Council (WAC) and is controlled to some extent, and funded, by New York City – to which the area supplies water – and the US federal government.
Though on reading about the WAC, the question that formed in the old Jac noggin was, “How did Dŵr Cymru even learn about this initiative so far away?”
The panel above goes some way towards answering that question by mentioning two trans-Atlantic visits. The first was in March 2018, when a group from the WAC visited Wales. As we see from the Dŵr Cymru tweet below, retweeted by the WAC.
Then, in October 2019, a contingent from Dŵr Cymru reciprocated with a visit to the Catskills. But I could find no mention of this on the WAC Twitter account.
Though what you see below from around the time of the Dŵr Cymru visit may put us on the path to enlightenment.
The Bard College mentioned in the tweet is a Woke-Left institution in New York State favoured and funded by George Soros. The Manipulative Magyar’s influence in Wales is often channelled through Black Mountains College in Talgarth.
That’s right! – just a few miles from Gilestone Farm.
BMC Trustee Dr William Herbert Newton Smith was, as the BMC website tells us: ” . . . for 20 years head of George Soros’s higher education programme, establishing over 20 universities around the world.”
If we were talking about young Welsh people from farming backgrounds they’d already know more than Martineau. Which means that the headline can only refer to those, almost certainly from outside of Wales, buying Welsh farms.
Or taking on Welsh farms someone else has bought for them?
The link between Black Mountains College, Bard College, and George Soros, was recently strengthened through the Open Society University Network (OSUN).
Soros unveiled OSUN at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2020. Read this article. This really is Orwell’s Ministry of Truth. We have arrived in 1984.
If we turn to Black Mountains College most recent accounts (page 4, under ‘Operations’) we read: “BMC was inducted into the global Open Society University Network (OSUN), allowing us to offer our programmes to students from 50 institutions around the world”.
But no mention of Uncle George!
I suggest you read the latest accounts to help you grasp the links between BMC and other institutions, such as the Centre for Alternative Technology. And the funding from the ‘Welsh Government’, through the Arwain programme and other sources.
One organisation linked to BMC – and don’t fall off your chair in surprise! – is Dŵr Cymru / Welsh Water, which is sponsoring the Ecological Futures Camp in late August – early September. (Take a look at the other sponsors!)
The accounts also mention (page 4) an anonymous gift of £50,000. Bloody hell! Should a small educational establishment in receipt of public funding be allowed to receive large, anonymous donations?
But this generosity is dwarfed by the gift from Jenny Mathilde Daneels Watt of Switzerland. Jenny splashed out £960,000 last year to buy Troed-yr-Harn, a 120-acre grassland farm and then, so we are told, she lets Black Mountains College have use of it for a peppercorn rent.
The question you’re all asking is, “Who the hell is Jenny Mathilde Daneels Watt of Switzerland and why would she be so generous to Black Mountains College?”
I’m asking the same question. Answers on a postcard, please!
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?
Why would the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ pay £4.25m for a farm it seems unsure what to do with, and then say it will be rented or leased to an organisation that has yet to make a comment, and has presented no business plan?
Part of the answer is, in a word, control.
Understand that we are dealing here with the socialist mindset that wants to control Wales and almost every aspect of Welsh life. If this can’t be done openly and directly, then it will be done surreptitiously, through proxies.
This is how the Labour Party has operated in Wales for a century. It explains the corruption, the cronyism and, regrettably, Wales’ poverty relative to other countries.
Why should farming, or the land, be treated any differently?
But before explaining what I think is behind the purchase of Gilestone Farm take a few minutes to enjoy Vaughan Gething, Minister for Economy (‘economy’!), flim-flam his way through questions in the Senedd on Wednesday.
Also understand that the Labour Party is ideologically and emotionally hostile to farmers and landowners. I could bore you with an explanation that takes us from the Inclosure Act (1773) via the Tolpuddle Martyrs (1834) to Kinder Scout (1932), but I’ll spare you.
Let’s now focus on the sale of Gilestone Farm.
I can’t be sure how and by whom the trans-Atlantic link was established, but at some point the idea that the mayor of New York City can influence farmers many miles away in the Catskills became seen as a good idea, to be replicated in Wales.
Which explains why the Beacons Water Group CIC was set up soon after the link was established between our own water supplier and the area supplying NYC.
Among the directors of BWG we found Richard Roderick, the local NFU branch chairman. Interestingly, Roderick farms directly across the Usk from Gilestone Farm.
Another BMC director is Alun Thomas, who farms within waving distance over Llangorse lake of Hugh Martineau.
Making the Beacons Water Group a cosy little gang. What’s more, there are plans to extend the idea, thanks to Cardiff University, which often seems to be joined at the hip with the ‘Welsh Government’.
The link in the previous paragraph takes you to a page headed: “Environmental resilience for water in rural Wales”. We read of, “Creative partner collaboration with Mrs Penelope Turnbull”.
Penelope Turnbull designs the interiors of cruise ships! She’s also been a window-dresser for Harrods!
How the fuck did she get this gig!
What does she know about farming? Or water quality? Come to that, why does a group set up to improve water quality on Welsh farms need a “Creative partner”?
Has the world gone mad, or is it just Wales? This could drive me to drink!
End of digression-rant.
Those belonging to the BWG are viewed as ‘good’ farmers, environmentally responsible and therefore to be favoured by politicians and their minions.
‘Good farmers’ will promote the globalist agenda that seeks to destroy livestock farming and have us eat gunge made in a factory owned by the increasingly weird, if not sinister, Bill Gates.
This couples with a change of tack from the ‘Welsh Government’.
For it has become clear, even to the blinkered and insensitive denizens of Corruption Bay, that hedge funds and City investors buying up Welsh farmland for various forms of greenwash does not go down well with the Welsh public.
Far better for the ‘Welsh Government’ to buy farmland and hand it over to favoured individuals and groups. Or it may be Dŵr Cymru doing the buying, or Natural Resources Wales.
Without the trans-Atlantic link facilitated by Soros-backed institutions, we would not have seen the creation of the Beacons Water Group, and without the BWG the ‘Welsh Government’ would not have bought Gilestone Farm from Charles Weston.
The real story here may be the adoption and adaptation of a US arrangement that will be used by the ‘Welsh Government’ to reward those farmers who follow the globalist agenda while isolating those with principles.
Pour encourager les autres.
The Green Man? Even if this outfit is taking over Gilestone, it’s just a distraction.
I’M IN SEMI-RETIREMENT AND THIS BLOG IS WINDING DOWN. I INTEND CALLING IT A DAY SOON AFTER THIS YEAR’S SENEDD ELECTIONS. POSTINGS WILL NOW BE LESS FREQUENT AND I WILL NOT UNDERTAKE ANY MAJOR NEW INVESTIGATIONS. DIOLCH YN FAWR.
This is the first of my promised reviews of next month’s elections. This initial foray into a crowded field is longer than intended, so take your time.
I’ve concentrated on those parties with a chance of winning seats, so apologies to the Communist Party of Britain, Captain Beany, the Freedom Alliance, the Socialist Party of Great Britain, the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition, the Welsh Christian Party, the Workers Party, and any others I may have missed.
A more specific and detailed approach may follow in subsequent pieces . . . unless I lose interest entirely.
The risk of simply switching off is real, partly because we lack inspiring politicians and partly because the liars and the bullshitters are already at work and – unchallenged by our wonderful media – spewing forth all manner of nonsense.
Not content with being conduits for misinformation certain elements of the media themselves contribute to the confusion by pretending that only ‘establishment’ parties are standing. Or maybe they believe that only establishment parties should be heard.
This time round there are more candidates representing a wider range of political perspectives than in any previous Assembly / Senedd elections. From the genuinely nationalist Gwlad to the extremes of the BritNat fringe.
While many are trying to paint these elections as being about Covid, the truth is that the big question lurking in the shadows is whether Wales should become independent or cease to exist in any meaningful form.
As for what we have now, there are few ready to speak up for it. In fact, I’m amazed that anyone has the chutzpah to defend devolution on the record of the past 22 years.
Which might explain why the Labour Party is asking for another 5 years to do the things it’s failed to do over the past two decades and more. An example would be introducing a register of lobbyists.
The truth is that, in Wales, the term ‘lobbyist’ is interchangeable with ‘third sector’. And the third sector is ‘Welsh’ Labour’s private army, soaking up hundreds of millions of pounds of public money in providing sinecures for Labour cronies, in return for which the third sector will support Labour in any way it can, including attacking Labour’s opponents.
Perhaps the major problem for Labour is that it’s beginning to look clapped out, devoid of fresh ideas, and relying more than ever on voters’ blind, family loyalty – and not being, ‘them wicked Tories’.
Which no longer works, as we saw in the December 2019 UK general election, when Welsh Labour seats fell to, ‘them wicked Tories’. More may go the same way next month. Certainly, there’s not a hope in Hell of Labour getting near the 30 seats needed to form an administration.
That said, there is a widespread perception that Labour is faring less badly here in the popularity stakes than in England. (In Scotland, of course, Labour is now neck-and-neck with the Monster Raving Loony Party.)
Why this might be so mystifies me. Could it be the magnetic personality of Mark Drakeford? Or maybe the abundance of talent we see lined up behind him? Or could it be that the other ‘major’ parties are so unappealing that by comparison any bunch of muppets might look half competent?
(Please don’t think that I’m trying to insult muppets by comparing them to ‘Welsh’ Labour politicians!)
Some argue that Drakeford has handled the pandemic and its restrictions better than Boris Johnson. I don’t buy that. Labour in Wales clearly panicked when restrictions on pubs, gyms and other establishments were lifted in England, and this explains why they brought forward the lifting of restrictions in Wales . . . which now take effect before the elections on May 6 rather than after.
Of course, there may be another explanation for the timing. If so, then it escapes me. I’m open to suggestions.
What’s not in doubt is that Labour will need all the help it can get. Poll findings published last Friday by YouGov put Labour on just 29%, with the Conservatives romping ahead on 43%. These are of course UK figures, but even so, Labour is also in trouble in Wales.
The only question is how far short of the target 30 seats Labour will fall.
I’m turning to Plaid Cymru now not because it’s the second largest party in Wales (it’s not, by a long way) but because to have any hope of staying in control Labour will probably need to go into coalition with Plaid Cymru.
And the terms of this coalition have been discussed for months. So it makes sense to lump Plaid Cymru in with Labour. So remember, folks . . .
A vote for Plaid Cymru will be a vote for Labour.
Yes, Plaid Cymru talks of winning the election, and of becoming the largest party, but the kindest way of describing such suggestions is wishful thinking.
Because for many years Plaid Cymru has been drifting ever further left. This course to political irrelevance might appear to have changed with the crushing defeat inflicted by party members on far left leader Leanne Wood in 2018, but that would be to misinterpret the situation.
The 77.7% that voted against Leanne Wood is the silent majority, playing little part in the running of the party. Those who support Wood – a vociferous and nasty minority – still control the party’s direction of travel. Largely through intimidation.
Intimidation of the kind that can get a Member of the Senedd to apologise for daring believe that a person with a penis and testicles could be anything other than a woman. And worse, suggesting that transphobia may be rather less heinous and genocidal than pushing Jewish children into gas chambers.
These are the sort of people that might reluctantly agree to take action against child trafficking, but only on condition that it didn’t involve discrimination against the ‘child-trafficking community’. Because in their world just everyone belongs to a ‘community’ – which is of course oppressed – except those who are part of the white, western patriarchal system, which does the oppressing.
What a fucked-up world these lunatics have invented! Worse, many of them genuinely believe they are living this nightmare. Others just encourage them in that belief.
Even figurehead party leader Adam Price was forced to grovel to this carnival of grotesques. Because they call the shots nowadays in Plaid Cymru. Them and the anti-Semites, and those who believe that the priority for Wales should be extending Harri Webb’s Green Desert to the whole country.
A green desert with no nation, no jobs (not for us, anyway), no homes; an emptiness exploited by foreign enviroshysters and renewables mountebanks in order to ‘Save the Planet!’.
It’s no coincidence that Labour pretends to have bought into this planet-saving bollocks. Because if you’re saving the planet, then it stands to reason we don’t need jobs; for example, Port Talbot steelworks can go. And the only roads we’ll need are those to bring our neighbours to and from their holiday homes. We Welsh won’t need roads because we won’t be able to afford cars. But don’t worry, because we’ve always got our rail system – a mere three days to travel from Carmarthen to Aberystwyth. (Don’t forget to change at Scunthorpe Low Level!)
Let’s cut the bullshit. ‘Wales saving the planet’, ‘Green jobs’ (that never materialise), are simply excuses for Wales being a basket-case economy.
Anyone arguing that the future economy of Wales lies in foreign-made and foreign-owned wind turbines and solar panels, providing not a single Welsh job, is either a fool or a liar.
Regrettably, the left in Wales is replete with both.
Perhaps to distract us from its internal problems, and the lack of an economic strategy not approved of by Saint Greta, Plaid Cymru promises a referendum on independence in the first term of a Plaid administration.
Cynics will point out that Plaid is not going to win the elections. Also, that there’ll be many in the Party of Wales happy to ‘lose’ such a referendum.
I’ll conclude this section with an observation I’ve made before, and I’m not the only one to have said it. There is a growing interest in independence; one recent poll put it as high as 39%, but Plaid Cymru’s support has remained static.
It’s as if a growing section of the Welsh public is considering independence . . . but they don’t want it delivered by Plaid Cymru. To think the unthinkable (for some, anyway) . . . Plaid Cymru may be the reason more people aren’t considering independence.
My interpretation is that while it’s well chronicled that socialist parties in the West have largely lost the (white) working class through pursuing policies designed to appeal to ethnic minorities and middle class left liberals, the problem for Plaid Cymru is that it had few working class votes to begin with.
Which leaves Plaid Cymru fighting a 20th century class war with 21st century ‘Woke’ warriors. This, and the elitist obsession with ‘the environment’ – rather than the issues people care about – will not pull in many new punters.
CONSERVATIVE AND UNIONIST PARTY
There’s no question that the Tories are riding high, but considering the opposition they face, maybe they should be doing even better.
For as we’ve seen, the opposition is composed of a Labour Party with 22 years of failure to its name, and a party even further to the left in thrall to identity politics extremists.
Add to that the popularity of BoJo and his jolly band up in London and the Conservatives should be heading for control in Corruption Bay. But that may not be the case.
One problem the Tories face is a combined opposition, one that works well because Plaid Cymru wins seats in areas where Labour is a lost cause. Whereas the Tory vote is more evenly spread across the land than the more ‘focused’ support enjoyed by their socialist opponents.
But this time around things might be different. I say that because of the BritNat parties. If I can remember them all . . . There’s the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party, then there’s Reform UK (formerly the Brexit Party), and, finally, Ukip.
Yet when all is said and done, they have so much in common.
Where it could get very interesting would be if the Conservatives emerged from next month’s elections as the largest party.
(It should go without saying that sometimes, my brain enlivened with the produce of Argentina, I dream of Labour and Plaid Cymru combined falling short of 30 seats!)
As the largest party the Tories could just plough on and test the resolve of opponents with popular policies. I mean, if they promised to take a chainsaw to the third sector and invest the money saved where it could do more good, who would dare object?
Well, obviously, the Labour Party would object because it wants to keep Wales poor, blame the Tories, and keep getting elected. The third sector, constantly moaning about Welsh deprivation while doing little or nothing to remedy it, is essential to this scam. Plaid Cymru’s attitude to the third sector is little different to Labour’s.
But what of the others heretofore mentioned, the Queen and Country boys; what if they cobbled together enough seats to push the Tories towards the required 30?
It’s possible, because even though this election is difficult to call, due to the number of parties and candidates involved, we can be almost sure that the three largest parties will get fewer second preference votes and therefore fewer regional members.
I could live with a Conservative-BritNat parties coalition for a number of reasons.
In the short term, I would expect it to undo the socialist webs that Labour has spun to enmesh and enfeeble Wales over the past two decades. I would also expect such a coalition to put an end to Labour’s war against Welsh farmers.
In the longer term, the unrelenting Britishness might be the kick in the nuts some people need to accept that independence is the only option.
Well, what can I say without being cruel?
I will say this . . . I’d be pleased to see William Powell back in the Senedd. He’s a decent man and his heart’s in the right place, which is more than can be said for most of those who’ll be elected on May 6.
THE GREEN PARTY OF ENGLANDANDWALES
This is a party made up largely of Green white settlers, some of whom espouse colonialist views that might have embarrassed old Leopold II.
The non-existent ‘Wales Green Party’ now claims to also believe in independence, not because they care about me or you, but because they see an independent Wales as somewhere they can wield influence that will in no way be hindered by their lack of electoral support.
Which, in a sense, takes us back to lobbying.
The shameless opportunism of the Greens is not a lot different to the entryism we’ve seen recently from far left loonies who have jumped on the indy bandwagon since Comrade Corbyn was given the bum’s rush.
The one consolation, of sorts, is that just about every other party now pays lip-service to the Greens’ message. Which is not good for Wales but, on the plus side, it makes the Green Party of Englandandwales largely redundant.
That can only be good.
THE BRITNAT PARTIES
As I said earlier, these are Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party, Reform and Ukip. They are almost guaranteed to win some seats, and they will naturally align with the Conservative and Unionist Party.
These possibilities are discussed above and there’s not a lot to add.
No doubt the BritNats will insist there are great ideological differences between them, but these are little more than degrees of anti-Welshness.
Of course, they’ll say they aren’t anti-Welsh, just anti-devolution. But as we know, let someone talk long enough about their opposition to devolution and before long hostility to the Welsh language and other indicators of a separate Welsh identity emerge. Such as the existence of Welsh national sporting teams.
And yet, they’re right. Devolution, and the corruption-infested swamp that is Cardiff Bay, should be done away with. But in favour of independence.
That’s why I believe the BritNats can be useful idiots in realising their worst nightmare.
In the next couple of years Scotland will either become independent or else the UK will slip into some kind of ‘soft’ (maybe not so soft) totalitarianism in order to thwart Scottish independence. At this moment I can’t see any other outcome.
Either of those eventualities will be a wake-up call for Wales. Either of them will tell us that it’s time to go, time to leave the United Kingdom.
When we’ve reached either outcome, anyone still arguing in favour of the UK will be acting out of self-interest or contempt for Wales. Among them we’ll find people like the Kinnocks, discredited Tories, holiday home owners, and others whose objections must be brushed aside.
This is why I tell everyone to watch what’s happening in Scotland. Because events in the Old North could have a bigger impact on Wales’ future than anything we do down here.
WALES’ BEST HOPES
As many readers will know, I had a hand in the formation of new, conservative-ish nationalist party, Gwlad. A party that was desperately needed to represent those who reject incompetent Labour, Rule Britannia Conservatives and BritNats, and Woke Plaid Cymru.
Gwlad is standing a good slate of candidates in next month’s elections. As WalesOnline said in an article last week: “Gwlad has put forward 14 constituency candidates and 21 candidates across the regional lists. Aside from Labour, Tories, Plaid, Lib Dems and Reform UK, they have the most candidates seeking election on May 6.”
Though I won’t be able to vote for Gwlad in my constituency of Dwyfor Meirionnydd, that’s because the party is not standing in seats held by Plaid Cymru. But I will be able to vote for our excellent list candidates in Mid and West Wales.
My constituency vote will probably go to the Propel candidate, Peter Read; but the Llais Gwynedd candidate, Glyn Daniels, is also in with a shout.
Having mentioned Propel it’s only right that I tell you a little more about this other new and genuinely Welsh party.
Most of you will have heard of Neil McEvoy. Despite what his opponents would like you to believe, Propel is not a one-man band; Neil is the leader, but he has a good team around him.
As a Member of the Senedd Neil McEvoy has made himself unpopular with Labour and Plaid Cymru through exposing the corruption and duplicity that characterises Cardiff Bay. (Anybody who can piss off both Labour and Plaid Cymru is OK with me.)
Also because, when standing for Plaid Cymru in 2016, he came within 1,176 votes of defeating Mark Drakeford in Cardiff West. Neil McEvoy is standing against Drakeford again, making this one of the more intriguing constituency contests.
(As an example of the way the media is misreporting these elections, Cardiff West is being portrayed by some as a straight fight between Labour and Plaid Cymru!)
The fact that Labour and Plaid Cymru attack Neil McEvoy with almost equal vehemence helps expose a long-standing relationship between two self-styled ‘progressive’ parties. The coalition that might emerge after May 6 would be just a continuation of this co-operation.
I’m not absolutely sure, but I’m fairly confident that Gwlad and Propel are not standing against each other in any constituency. I’m not aware of any electoral pact, I think it just panned out that way.
My advice therefore is to put Wales first by voting for Gwlad or Propel. Both parties are new, but fresh thinking is exactly what Wales needs at this critical juncture.
Because, and I repeat: the next few years are about choosing between independence and assimilation. Which do you want?
PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR
I know I often start with an apology (I have a lot to apologise for), and this time is no exception. I’d toyed with the idea of writing about other subjects, but there really isn’t much point.
So I’m offering a second helping of Wales and Coronavirus, with perhaps an entertaining digression or twa.
THE CASE OF THE MISSING TESTING KITS
Politicians have been under the spotlight in this crisis, which will return to haunt some of them. For many politicos are being exposed as liars, others as incompetents, while the worst of them are both, and more.
Let’s take the case of the testing kits that the ‘Welsh Government’ insists it ordered from Roche, an order that it’s alleged was cancelled by the Swiss pharma giant when the UK government got involved and put in a bigger order.
A few things strike me as odd about this incident. First, the ‘Welsh Government’ has produced no evidence of an order being placed, let alone accepted. Second, after an initial flurry of outrage London’s local management team seems to have fallen into line, leaving Drakewell looking increasingly like a compliant ‘regional leader’ in a totalitarian state.
But let’s be generous, and assume that even if the order wasn’t actually placed, that negotiations were at least underway. That being so, was Whitehall tipped off about the ‘Welsh Government’ – for once! – looking up to the job, even upstaging BoJo’s gang?
This might explain why the deal between the ‘Welsh Government’ and Roche fell through. But if so, who tipped off Whitehall?
My money would be on civil servants, more specifically, senior civil servants of the type appointed by London and answering to their masters in the Great Wen. And when they’re not carrying clecks they’re implementing orders from London, often dressed up as ‘Welsh legislation’.
‘Prof Godkin, who leads the School of Medicine, said Wales has significant laboratory capacity to help ramp up the numbers of Covid-19 tests.
“It’s been deeply frustrating. We flagged up what was available about three weeks ago,” he said.
“We certainly have the capacity here and in Cardiff University to really offer… a considerable number of tests.”‘
Why hasn’t this offer, from an institution within miles of Corruption Bay, been taken up?
Whatever the truth about the testing kits from Roche, the ‘Welsh Government’ has clearly surrendered control to Downing Street. With the result that when it comes to testing kits, personal protection equipment (PPE), Wales will get whatever London decides.
And so, here we are, a month or more into this crisis, and front line staff in our health service are still waiting for tests and PPE. The conclusion I draw is that the ‘Welsh Government’ has chosen not to act contrary to London diktats, even when to do so would be best for Wales.
Which makes devolution rather pointless.
Though of course, it could all be a cunning plan worthy of Baldrick. For ‘Welsh’ Labour likes nothing more than to blame somebody else for anything that goes wrong. By surrendering control over the fight against coronavirus to London Cardiff Bay might be seen as getting itself off the hook.
As that tweet from LSR suggests, the police seem to have been more proactive this weekend, stopping people and asking them where they were going, and why.
The evidence popped up regularly on Twitter, with reports of vehicles also being stopped on Dyfi Bridge at Machynlleth (a boundary between GogPlod and Dyfed Powys), and also around Bala.
But this tweet put out on Friday evening by a councillor on Ynys Môn would suggest that nothing was being done on the bridges linking the island with the mainland.
Perhaps his cri de coeur was answered, for the following day police were out, but getting in their way was the new MP for the island, Virginia Crosbie. For as we know, Tory politicians can’t resist a photo opp with police. (Though of course there are 20,000 fewer cops since 2010.)
Though you have admire her brass neck. To begin with, Conservatives love holiday homes, most Tory MPs have at least one. And I guarantee that Crosbie garnered quite a few votes from holiday home-owning families that live in safe Tory seats, and could afford to vote from their holiday homes in a marginal constituency like Ynys Môn.
Though the ultimate hypocrisy was her claim that it’s all being done to help the NHS. The health service would be coping a hell of a lot better with this pandemic if her party had put more money in over recent years.
If those clowns in London she regards as the government could just arrange for front-line health staff to be tested, and to have PPE, she’d look less like a politician exploiting global misery to promote herself.
Though maybe I’m being a bit harsh, for we mustn’t use coronavirus to score political points, must we? Though if that’s the case, then someone should have told ‘Barry’ Lee Waters, Sosban’s AM.
Plaid Cymru put out a statement over the weekend urging people to stay at home, and when it was retweeted by ITV Wales’ Welsh political editor, Adrian Masters, Waters jumped in with both feet to infer that Plaid was being anti-English.
Obviously the boy hadn’t read the full statement that Adrian Masters had so helpfully retweeted. (Quelle twat! as we used to say in Swansea.) Though Barry’s contribution reminds us of another political party that has problems with holiday homes. His own.
Which is strange, for we should expect any socialist or social democratic party to be opposed to holiday homes on a number of grounds, but not ‘Welsh’ Labour, which has tied itself up in all sorts of knots.
Mainly because from a ‘Welsh’ Labour perspective holiday homes is a ‘nashie’ issue, the kind of thing that people like me are supposed to get vexed about. Which is true, up to a point, I suppose, but it’s hardly an obsession with me, as you’ll realise from searching this blog.
But because that’s how Labour in Wales frames it, doing anything to discourage the growth in the number of holiday homes is seen as a concession to political opponents.
The collateral damage of hard-working local people priced out of the property market, and the destruction of Welsh communities and even Welsh identity, is acceptable because by and large the areas worst affected don’t vote Labour.
Which in practical terms, results in ‘Welsh’ Labour being as indulgent towards holiday homes as the Conservative and Unionist Party.
While Plaid Cymru’s request was for no one to travel unnecessarily, Visit Wales still has trouble telling tourists and holiday home owners to stay out, as this tweet put out on Saturday makes clear. They can’t quite bring themselves to say, ‘Don’t travel INTO Wales’.
We’ve had two weekends of ignored lockdown and now we face Easter weekend, for which I’m sure the police are preparing. Though I would suggest that rather than random checks all over the country, or responding to tweets such as that from Councillor Carwyn Jones, checks on the border would be more effective.
Wales is a small country with a limited number of decent, cross-border roads, maybe a dozen in all. You’ll see that I’ve made three additions to the motorway and trunk road map reproduced below. All three cross the border into Powys, with the A44 being the only road into Aberystwyth from the east, the A489 links with the A470 heading north towards Snowdonia, and the A438 runs down to the Beacons.
Just having a police presence from Friday morning on these roads where they cross the border would have an effect. Pulling over motor homes and towed caravans would obviously make sense, as would stopping anyone who looks a bit ‘touristy’.
And if such a tactic proves successful then we could make it permanent!
We’ve all heard reports of coronavirus being used to bump up prices by shysters like Mike Ashley of Sports Direct, but it’s not just the usual suspects, as I found out last week.
I was looking for a new scanner/printer and after deciding on the model I wanted I went online to compare prices. To my surprise – as I’ve never bought from them before – John Lewis Partnership offered the best deal. So I ordered my machine, an Epson ET-7750 at £549.
I then had an e-mail telling me that the order was being processed. Before, bizarrely, receiving another e-mail saying that my contact details had been changed. Not by me they hadn’t! This was followed by, ‘We are unable to process your order’, and then a cancellation.
Curious, I went to the John Lewis website. The machine I’d ordered was still there of course – but the asking price had gone up by £50 since I’d placed my order!
Obviously I had to find another supplier. I went to one I’d never heard of before, Box.
I paid just over £10 more than I’d originally paid John Lewis, but at least there was no nonsense about ‘changed details’, and it even arrived on Saturday, not on Monday as I’d expected.
But being the curious bugger I am, after placing my order I went back to the Box website – and saw that the price had increased by £30 in less than 24 hours!
It seems obvious to me that with so many stores closed online retailers feel they can charge whatever they like. So if you’re shopping online – be careful!
‘ALL PULLING TOGETHER’
In a number of ways it seems that the UK government is using the coronavirus crisis to override devolved administrations and possibly undermine devolution. How far this will go remains to be seen.
For coronavirus is now up there with World War II, the monarchy, World Cup 1966, the Falklands, the death of Diana, Only Fools and Horses, and the 2012 Olympics, as a ‘shared experience’. Something that we are expected to believe transcends national and regional differences, and makes distinctions of class, religion and of course, politics irrelevant.
Coronavirus will be milked for all it’s worth, and of course it explains why Her Maj made an address to the Commonwealth on Sunday. (You missed it!)
The problem is of course, that we aren’t ‘all in it together’.
Let us visualise a member of the Cheshire Set, with private health care, and let’s call him Dominic. Let’s further assume that he drives down in his Merc to spend a weekend in his holiday home, and while in Wales he infects old Mrs Roberts with Covid-19 then fucks off back to his big house in Wilmslow before Mrs Roberts dies.
Yeah, I suppose that could be a shared experience; cos Dom must have had coronavirus for him to infect Mrs Roberts. Stands to reason.
And just as Hitler had Versailles, those arseholes in London feel they too must have someone to blame, or a distraction. But with so much Chinese money sloshing about in London they can’t imitate their orange friend in Washington and call it the ‘Chinese Virus’ . . . so they pick on footballers!
Perhaps a case could be made for paying these players less because football, like all other sports, has been suspended until the crisis has passed. But if the issue is money, then a few hundred footballers taking a pay cut isn’t going to make much difference. And how would the money be collected? Or even assessed? If their clubs pay them less is Hancock planning to ask Liverpool and Manchester City and Arsenal for whatever they’re not paying Salah, de Bruyne, Lacazette and the rest?
But if money is the issue, then a hell of a lot more could be raised from the Tories’ tax-avoiding friends, with their tax haven companies, as Gary Lineker has suggested. (There’s no, ‘if they possibly can’ about it, Gary. They definitely can!)
Staying with the beautiful game, why am I and millions of others still having to pay Sky, BT, Premier Sports and Amazon Prime for football that’s not being played? Will Hancock talk to Rupert Murdoch and others to get our subscriptions suspended until football resumes? Will he hell!
But it’s not a question of money. No amount of money collected now can make much difference in the fight against coronavirus. The problems in the NHS are structural and of long standing. The money should have been invested years ago, over the last few decades in fact.
Which makes having a pop at footballers a cheap publicity stunt from a cheap politician.
Another ‘national treasure’ recruited in the fight against coronavirus and for British unity is Florence Nightingale. The new emergency hospitals in England have been named after her, and of course the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, home to the Welsh Rugby Union, has followed NHS England’s lead.
But in Glasgow the emergency hospital was named after Louisa Jordan, a WW1 nurse from Maryhill, who died working in Serbia. She is still fondly remembered by the Serbs. (Serbia suffered more casualties per capita than any other country.)
This decision has outraged those who wear Union Jack underpants beneath their kilts and support a certain football club. One such was former Labour MP Douglas Alexander, who detected ‘small-minded nationalism’ at work.
To believe Douglas Alexander, naming a hospital in Glasgow after a woman from that city who lost her life helping others is wrong, but to name it after a woman who did a great job of self-promotion in one of Britain’s countless 19th century colonialist adventures, but who has no connections with Scotland, is the right thing to do.
Here, as with Barry Lee Waters, we see the BritNat mind at work. Scottish or Welsh nationalism (bad) is detected in the most harmless gesture, but it would be blind to British nationalism (good) if London sent in the tanks and started arresting people.
Coronavirus is having strange effects. In this posting I’ve found myself defending Plaid Cymru and agreeing with Gary Lineker.
Regular readers will know that I am no friend to Plaid Cymru; but what is not so well known is that I was no fan of Lineker the footballer, I think he ruins Match of the Day with the faux mateyness, and I detest even more his liberal pontificating on social media.
But there you go, these are not normal times. And the worst is yet to come, in terms of deaths, and in disruption to what were our everyday lives.
Political leadership in both London and Cardiff has failed us. The economy is already severely damaged, house prices will collapse, savings and investments will suffer, and by this time next year our lives could be framed by very different political and economic paradigms.
There is no going back to things as they were pre Covid-19. That system has been found wanting. Once the worst of coronavirus is behind us Wales must have a fresh start. And that can only mean independence.
PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR
Yes, I know I’d promised to write on a couple of other subjects, but this coronavirus pandemic has turned things upside down. It’s certainly impacting on the Jones household.
To begin with, my daily trips to Tywyn for a coffee and a read of the ‘paper are gone. This was often followed by sauntering up and down the High Street, doing a bit of shopping, maybe driving down to Aberdyfi to mooch around some more. But not now.
I’m stuck at home with my long-suffering wife. Fortunately, being a home carer, she’s out quite a lot. Another aid to me keeping cabin fever at bay is to stock up on the Malbec. I’ve found that caressing unopened bottles can have a soothing effect.
Self-isolation has also meant no grandchildren staying, which only adds to the sense of this being a different time. And it’s also quieter outside the house, fewer people about, less traffic. If it wasn’t for the internet it might be like an earlier epoch.
Though perhaps what I miss most is the football. I used to spend at least 25 hours a week watching football. Not just Welsh and English football; I’m just as happy watching La Vecchia Signora or the Jam Tarts. But coronavirus is global, which means there’s no football anywhere. Anywhere! (Yeah, I know, that’s what ‘pandemic’ means.)
So when I’m not online, or out taking my constitutional, listening to music, or up in the attic doing my Fast Eddie impersonations on the kids’ pool table, I’m dipping into my books. Hazlitt has always been a favourite. But when I reached for that little volume of essays the other day I found a page marked with the dust cover, so I opened it . . .
Fortunately I don’t believe in such things. So for all the shysters out there, and the lying politicians – I plan on being around to write about you for some time yet.
THE STORY THUS FAR
The realisation that things were getting serious took a while to sink in, for just about everybody, with the Welsh Rugby Union taking longer than most to get the message.
The Six Nations game against Scotland, scheduled for March 14, was going ahead almost up until the last minute. This despite the other games in Round 5 – Italy v England and France v Ireland – having been called off, and with football and almost every other sport also put on hold around the world.
It wasn’t until the afternoon of Friday the 13th, with Scottish fans safely in Cardiff and spending their money, that the WRU decided to call the game off.
To understand this disregard for the nation’s health you must appreciate what motivates the Welsh Rugby Union, what it regards as important. Vying for top spot are sucking up to English royals, and making money. Everything else is secondary.
In defence of the WRU, no pressure was applied by the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’. As late as Thursday the 12th, Vaughan Gething, the woefully inadequate health minister, saw no need to call the game off. Though in fairness to Gething, this non-decision could itself have been due to pressure from the WRU.
All grist to the mill of cynics believing that too many ‘national’ bodies based in Cardiff bend over backwards to make sure Cardiff never loses out, even when we are threatened by the worst pandemic since ‘Spanish’ Flu a century ago.
In terms of leadership, things have not got any better.
The ‘Welsh Government’ gives its daily briefing and issues advice, which is usually repeating what has already been said in London. Much like the laws passed in Cardiff docks, which are basically the same laws as England with ‘(Wales)’ added.
Exposing a fundamental problem with devolution when it’s run by a timid and unambitious Unionist party stuffed with mediocrities.
Labour has never resolved the conundrum of wanting to make Welsh people feel devolution is relevant to them but not wanting to depart too far from the London line for fear of being branded ‘nationalist’, even when doing things differently would be best for Wales. And so we have a sham devolution that neither enthuses our people nor serves Welsh interests.
All of which makes a mockery of “Welsh solutions for Welsh problems”, which is how devolution was sold to us many years ago.
Yet there are times when ‘Welsh solutions’ are needed. Let’s cast our minds back to last weekend, just after ‘lockdown’ was announced, when workplaces and schools were closed, and people told to stay home. Yet we saw thousands upon thousands of people treat a national emergency as a national holiday and flock to Wales.
While I didn’t expect the ‘Welsh Government’ to close the border and lay minefields, I did think they could have been a little more decisive than they had been the previous weekend over the rugby international, but no; not even when the scale of the irruption had become obvious.
Below you’ll see a few examples of the ignorance and stupidity we were confronted with, and just a few of many instances of locals acting for themselves. (Some still had to do it yesterday.)
These colonialist attitudes are the result of ‘selling’ our homeland for decades as nothing but another nation’s holiday destination. Encouraging the belief that Wales is some kind of Brigadoon that only comes alive when tourists visit.
This belief that Wales exists for no other reason than the enjoyment of tourists results in contempt for us, our history and our very identity.
Out of curiosity, I went to the Visit Wales Twitter account, and what I found was revealing. Up until March 12, two days before the planned Wales v Scotland game and the Stereophonics concert, there is at least one ‘Come to Wales’ tweet per day.
There is then a gap of ten days in which Visit Wales did no more than retweet other organisations’ tweets about coronavirus and, significantly, compensation. Like a rabbit caught in the headlights Visit Wales didn’t seem to know how to react. March 22 was of course the Sunday, and by then it had become obvious even to Visit Wales that locals in tourism hot-spots were organising themselves against irresponsible tourism operators and individuals.
Only then did Visit Wales put out a tweet telling potential visitors to stay away. And this might have been motivated as much by worries about the damage being done to the reputation of the tourism industry as by concern for public health.
If I carry on like this I’ll be accused of ‘politicising’ coronavirus. This was the accusation thrown at Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon when she recognised the threat and acted on coronavirus earlier than Westminster.
I accept that coronavirus knows no national boundaries, while on an island there must be some unity of purpose in the face of such a threat, but Wales still faces problems that will not be appreciated by those giving orders in London.
As we’ve seen, one such problem was holiday homes and tourism, and many thousands of people choosing to self-isolate in Wales. Which exposed another serious failing down in Cardiff.
The ‘Welsh Government’ (and this of course includes Visit Wales) refused to address this problem for far too long because politicians and civil servants in Cardiff have come to believe their own propaganda – Wales cannot survive without tourism, consequently nothing must be allowed to interfere with tourism. Not even a pandemic.
Political leadership has been noticeable by its absence. From London the advice has swung from “Nothing to get alarmed about – let’s all catch it!” (the ‘herd immunity’ approach), to “We’re all gonna die! – everybody stay home!” (lockdown).
While here in Wales, when not acting as an echo chamber, our politicians have been even less inspiring. Just read the article below from yesterday’s Llais y Sais. (Available here in pdf format.)
Did you ever read such waffle from a politician? Was Wales ever cursed with a more evasive and dishonest practitioner of even this disgraced profession? Did you ever see anyone more out of their depth?
Yet here’s the man leading the party and the administration that over the past twenty years has given billions of pounds to the crony-parasites of the third sector, where we find CEOs pulling down £100,000+ salaries – while our nurses don’t have Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).
(My wife, who every day visits sick and elderly people received her face mask on Friday.)
Political confusion reigns.
At London level we saw BoJo and the gang spurn the EU’s offer of ventilators; while in Cardiff, the ‘Welsh Government’ turned down an offer of 10,000, EU certified, Lloyds insured, testing kits of the kind used in South Korea.
This despite the World Health Organisation advising ‘testing, testing, and more testing’ as a way to avoid the spread of Covid-19. The only people being tested in Wales are those showing moderate to severe symptoms who might already have infected hundreds of others. Plus of course, politicians and their friends.
Carefully orchestrated communal clapping must not detract from these political failings. And when the coronavirus threat has passed we must remember how our politicians and their system failed us.
In the immediate future we must be on our guard against London using coronavirus to accrete more powers. For while devolution may not be worth defending, moving back to the status quo ante devolution must not be an option either, though it is being aired.
One airing came from a Welsh Labour MP during Scottish Questions last week, when Chris Elmore, the MP for Ogmore suggested that funding for Covid-19 should bypass the Scottish Government and go to local authorities. An interesting suggestion for a number of reasons.
The SNP of course forms the Scottish Government, but at council level we find a number of Unionist-run councils, often controlled by squalid coalitions held together by nothing more than a desire to keep the SNP out of power.
Such an arrangement as we find in the city of Aberdeen where, after the 2017 elections, the SNP was the largest party by some distance but is kept from power by an alliance of Conservatives, Labour and Independents. (Though the Labour councillors have been expelled from the ‘Scottish’ Labour Party for going into coalition with the Tories!)
And while Elwood (or was he one of the Blues Brothers?) may be a nonentity in Wales, representing a rosette-on-a-donkey constituency, he certainly made the news in Scotland. And as the report I’ve linked to from the National puts it, “It was left to Alister Jack, the Tory Secretary of State for Scotland, to remind the Labour frontbencher of how devolution works.”
A Tory MP having to remind an MP of the party that introduced devolution how devolution works. Lord and Lady Kinnock must have been so proud.
Though if wanting to rip up the devolution settlement and insincerely argue that the common weal would be better served by handing money directly to local councils sounds familiar, then that might be because it’s the same thing we hear from the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party. Is Elton a supporter?
If we are to do away with devolution, and that is certainly what I want, then it must be done in order to move forward to independence, not backward to direct rule.
Covid-19 is disrupting all our lives, and will end a few of them; but it has served the purpose of exposing as weak and malleable incompetents those buffoons down Cardiff docks who’ve lied to us for over twenty years about defending Wales.
Stand firm, stay healthy, and when this threat has passed, emerge from self-isolation determined to push on for independence!
♦ end ♦
With Covid-19 dominating the News, and politics in a state of suspended animation, the pandemic even affecting the crooks I so often write about, I may not be posting so frequently over the next few months unless something important happens.
PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR
It’s time for a round-up of a few topics that have moved on since I last dealt with them. With one ‘newcomer’.
You may recall that in Miscellany 09.12.2019, and under the section headed ‘Foreign aid’, we looked at a number of interlinked organisations that, collectively, I described as Wales’ foreign aid programme.
It started with someone directing me to a tweet from the Sub-Sahara Advisory Panel, of which Plaid Cymru AM Helen Mary Jones is sponsor.
We can also see Labour AMs Vaughan Gething and Baroness Eluned Morgan in the tweet. So the self-styled ‘progressives’ were well represented at this event.
What we see with these organisations is a great deal of Welsh public funding being diverted to an area for which the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ has no responsibility. With the bulk of the money then spent on salaries for people who have moved to Wales to get their snouts in the third sector trough.
Which results in millions of pounds of Welsh public money being spent in ways that provide no benefits whatsoever to Wales or to Welsh people.
Last week there was a sequel. In the Senedd. When Neil Hamilton, the regional AM for south and west Wales, raised the issue of Wales’ foreign aid programme.
Click here to see the video clip of his question and the response from Rebecca Evans the minister for finance. (Also note the intemperate cheering that greets the mention of Jac o’ the North!)
I accept that Neil Hamilton is not everyone’s cup of tea, he’s made mistakes. But he’s not evil, as some on the left like to portray anyone who doesn’t meet with their approval. And he’s certainly not lobby fodder, or a self-serving hypocrite, or a swivel-eyed member of the ‘woke’. Categories that cover most of the other AMs.
Neil Hamilton can fairly be described as his own man. And he’s one of my AMs.
Which is important, seeing as my constituency AM is Lord Elis Thomas, elected for Plaid Cymru in 2016 but who quickly defected to become an ‘Independent’ . . . but Labour in all but name. Now he serves as young Kenny Skates’ bag man.
The other regional AMs for mid and west Wales are Labour’s Baroness Eluned Morgan and Joyce Watson, with Plaid’s Helen Mary Jones. None of whom would raise a question about public funding being wasted on gesture politics.
Of course not, Labour AMs are not going to challenge their own management team. And Plaid Cymru only becomes mildly critical of Labour – in a comradely sort of way – during election campaigns.
I want to turn now to Rebecca Evans’ response, which can be found in the image below.
Note first that Rebecca Evans claims to belong to “a global, internationalist Welsh Government that takes its responsibilities to the planet and to others very seriously”.
Bollocks! She belongs to a devolved administration, with limited powers and responsibility for Wales alone.
Diverting to the home districts of third sector operatives of African origin what little is left after salaries are deducted, glossy reports produced, awards ceremonies and similar bun fights organised, achieves sod all for Wales.
How about this for a snide and supercilious remark, ” . . . it might speak more easily to the Member’s set of values . . . “. After that barb she took flight, Icarus-like, from the sunlit uplands of globalism with nonsense about ‘maintaining peace’, and with fighting the ‘climate crisis’ overseas.
This might be delusional if it was said by a representative of a wealthy, independent country. But when it comes from the management team of an impoverished province then it is positively insulting.
Just stick to the day job. Try thinking about the Welsh for a change. Those poor buggers who brought devolution into existence in 1997 and have been ignored ever since while posturing arseholes down Corruption Bay pretend to save humanity. Oh, yes, and the planet.
WEEP FOR WALES 16A
I hadn’t planned on writing anything about the Plas Glynllifon/Seiont Manor gang(s) but so much has happened since Weep for Wales 16 that I just can’t keep on updating it.
Weep for Wales 16 went out on January 2, and here’s a resumé of what’s happened since then.
Let’s try to make sense of these developments, the claims and counter-claims.
The first report, about the Seiont Manor closing ‘temporarily’, is pure bullshit. Cunliffe knew that the hotel wasn’t opening again.
In number two we read that Duff and Phelps have been appointed receivers for Plas Glynllifon Ltd by Together Commercial Finance Ltd, which has 8 outstanding charges against the company. And even though the ‘Filing history’ gives the date of January 7, the receiver was in fact appointed on December 17.
As explained in this Companies House document. The publication of the news was presumably delayed by the Christmas and New Year holiday. Even so, I have no doubt that both the Williams duo and Cunliffe knew the game was up long before they tucked into their Brussels sprouts.
In number 3 we read of two companies – Plas Glynllifon Ltd and Rural Retreats & Development Ltd – and three properties, Plas Glynllifon, Seiont Manor and Polvellan House in Cornwall. We’ve just looked at Plas Glynllifon Ltd, while Rural Retreats & Development Ltd is the owner of Seiont Manor and Polvellan House.
Yet the title document for Seiont Manor hotel (below) clearly shows four charges held by Together Commercial Finance Ltd. Page 5 of the document clears up the mystery by explaining that these charges are bundled up with other titles. (The assorted parcels of land referred to in the previous paragraph.)
It seems fairly obvious that Together Commercial Finance Ltd realises it’s loaned too much money to people and companies unlikely to ever repay, and also perhaps – given recent history – to properties that may have been over-valued. So now it’s called in the receivers to secure what’s left before the vultures strip the carcass and fly away.
The impending court case mentioned in 4 seems unrelated to these developments. So let’s try to figure out what might be discussed in Manchester on Friday.
As I remarked in Weep for Wales 15, what I found odd was that the accounts in question referred to a period before Cunliffe got involved with Plas Glynllifon, so why would he withhold those accounts? I feel there’s something we’re not being told.
The hearing on Friday has been instigated by Paul and Rowena Williams through their solicitors, Glaisyers of Manchester, who you may remember sent me a ‘Take down everything you’ve ever written (but don’t show this to anybody!)’ letter before Christmas. Here’s my response.
The allegation against Cunliffe is that he changed company documents without permission, and also that he closed Seiont Manor without authorisation.
I can’t comment on the documents charge, but surely, once Together Commercial Finance Ltd called in the receivers on December 17 the game was up? A company in receivership cannot carry on trading as if nothing has happened, not unless it’s agreed with the administrators/receivers, or unless the company is run by or the running is overseen by the administrators/receivers.
So I would ask why the Gruesome Twosome and Cunliffe and associates didn’t come clean before Christmas about receivership, because they must have known.
AND FINALLY . . . Someone interested in buying Plas Glynllifon Ltd before the Williams duo showed up was Gavin Woodhouse of Northern Powerhouse Developments Ltd. You may recall that he planned to market the old pile as ‘Wynnborn’. The ‘negative reaction’ to that suggestion made him walk away.
But he didn’t walk far, for Woodhouse built up a portfolio of Welsh hotels, including Caer Rhun in the Conwy valley. But it all came crashing down last year when his business practices were exposed by the Guardian and ITV News. Even so, the ‘Welsh Government’ still offered Woodhouse a £500,000 grant for Caer Rhun.
Another gang of crooks from the mystic East (Yorkshire, to you) bought a traditional Welsh property known as Bryn Llys Bach, just outside Nebo, not far from Caernarfon. They then set about doing whatever they liked whether they had planning permission or not. (Usually not.) This went hand in hand with cutting down trees and hedgerows that didn’t belong to them and threatening to beat up neighbours who dared complain.
For Duggan is the father of Jonathan James Duggan, who lives at Bryn Llys with his wife and numerous progeny, plus other gang members. I suggest you catch up with recent developments by reading this posting.
In a nutshell, the old house was demolished, a new one built (without planning permission, of course), and this new monstrosity was advertised for sale at £850,000.
The worry is that even if the house sells the gang will still be left with some 20 acres of land nearby. Given how they operate, their contempt for neighbours and all authority, we can expect them to plough ahead with any insane plan they choose.
Given the kind of people we are dealing with, and their contempt for everyone around them, I would have thought that Cyngor Gwynedd could produce a good case for the compulsory purchase of those 20 acres.
Llanbedr is a village lying between Barmouth and Harlech. I got to know it in the summer of ’73. I’d just finished at Coleg Harlech and decided to hang around for a bit longer, so I got a job in Llanbedr’s village pub, the Queen Victoria.
The regular customers contained a good sprinkling of those working at RAE Llanbedr. These could be further divided into the locals and the ex-service types who had moved to Llanbedr on leaving the forces. As is usual in a colonial context, the locals generally did the unskilled and lower-paid jobs.
Even after leaving the area I managed to maintain some contact with Llanbedr, often by unlikely means. For example, I knew the guy employed to keep the airstrip free of other birds with his hawks.
More recently, the airfield has been used for testing drones and also by a flying school. Bigger plans were thwarted in 2018 when Llanbedr lost out to Sutherland in Scotland as the location for the UK’s main spaceport.
Though the main beneficiary of all this would appear to be Snowdonia Aerospace LLP, which leases the site, or certainly the buildings. Snowdonia Aerospace is based in Dorset. There are some fascinating entries under the ‘People’ tab, where we find those who are or have been involved with this outfit.
Among them Putney Investments Ltd, with an address in Queensland, Australia.
‘Snowdonia’ Aerospace has received loans from both the ‘Welsh Government’ and the UK government, but both loans were in 2012, long before thoughts of a Welsh Cape Canaveral. So how do we account for this in 2012?
But then, last October, a new outfit appeared on the scene in the form of Snowdonia Aerospace Estates LLP. It too is based in Dorset, with the partners being Lee John Paul and Putney Investments Ltd. Fancy that!
This begins to look rather fishy. Do those clowns down Corruption Bay know who they’re dealing with? Probably not, so why are they dealing with a Limited Liability Partnership, that most opaque and unaccountable of financial constructs?
Despite the favourable treatment, a source tells me things are not well at Llanbedr, corners are being cut, and copious amounts of bullshit are being spread to confuse politicians, funders, and others.
Here are a few of the things I’m being told:
Llanbedr airfield is an enterprise zone with no enterprise
Despite charging tenants Snowdonia Aerospace is very reluctant to pay its own water and electricity bills
The whole site is deteriorating and Snowdonia Aerospace is simply hanging on for a ‘big player’ to take the place off their hands
Safety is compromised in all manner of ways
Despite all the hype – and money – there are just two employees
Half the ‘enterprise zone’ runs on a generator, which rarely works. Result – many angry tenants
Contractors shipped in from outside of Wales have been allowed to sleep in the control tower! (Where they smoke Jamaican Woodbines.)
Buildings have been knocked down without consent
There seems little doubt that the ‘Welsh Government’ and Cyngor Gwynedd have been bullied by the UK government and the military into coughing up large sums of our money for a project that is producing no benefits for Wales.
In fact, it’s difficult to see who, apart from the partners in Snowdonia Aerospace LLP, are benefiting. Unless of course it’s the partners in Snowdonia Aerospace Estates LLP, wherever they might be . . . Queensland, Hampshire or the Isle of Man.
I shall be making further enquiries about Llanbedr airfield, and will almost certainly return to this subject in the near future. If anyone reading this has more information, then please get in touch.
This is a bumper edition, some 3,600 words, enough to keep you going for a week. It comprises six different reports so you don’t need to gorge and make yourself ill, you can take it one piece at a time. Enjoy!
MRS AND MR MERRILL
Rose Mutale Merrill (née Nyoni), doyenne of the race relations industry in Wales, head of Bawso, and involved with so many other organisations, a Labour Party insider and enforcer, has figured on this blog many times. News now reaches me of yet another string to her bow.
For it is alleged that she has built up quite a property empire in some desirable locations in and around Cardiff. One such property being 6 Mitre Place, in Llandaf, quite close to the cathedral. This cost her £223,600 in May, 2005.
This was before her marriage to Travers Merrill in or around October 2008, he of Rhondda Life fame. ‘Rhondda Life?’ Well, yes, it was a venture which, according to this report, seems to have targeted the gourmet tourists with which the Rhondda Fach is inundated.
Or, to put a less generous interpretation on it, it was yet another non-starter claiming hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money in an attempt to be seen to be doing something in a Labour heartland and, more importantly, providing cushy numbers for Labour Party time-servers.
Travers Merrill was chief executive of Rhondda Life, though when the inevitable collapse came about, Shippo of Llais y Sais was considerate enough to see that Merrill’s name did not appear.
Looking through the papers filed with Companies House I see that after the liquidators – based in Leicester! – had taken their pound of flesh Rhondda Life seems to have been left with 43 pence in the kitty. Another great success for the Poverty Party.
But let us hie again to leafy Llandaf.
What I found strange about the title document for 6 Mitre Place was that even though the property was bought before the nuptials in the autumn of 2008 the title document has been amended to show Mutale’s married name, but the erstwhile Raymond Blanc of Ferndale is not mentioned. Which suggests that she is the sole owner.
Not content with just one property she then purchased another not far away, opposite Llandough Hospital. And there have been other purchases since to give Rose Mutale Nyoni-Merrill what I’m told now amounts to quite a property portfolio.
My informant – who I’m sure is mistaken – suggests that there might have been ‘confusion’ in the purchase of 6 Mitre Place, confusion as to the source of the deposit for the property. Perhaps money got mixed up somehow. But as I say, my informant is almost certainly wrong.
Before bidding this formidable woman farewell, another informant tells me that Mrs Nyoni-Merrill is/was lined up – certainly, shortlisted – for the job of Older People’s Commissioner. Can this be true?
In 1968 our national rugby team made its first trip to Argentina. As might be expected, contact was made with the descendants of the Welsh settlers in Patagonia. The BBC’s Onllwyn Brace – former rugby international himself – made a wonderful film of Alun Williams and others on that trip south.
The Welsh Rugby Union has arranged another trip to Argentina for next month, playing two tests against Los Pumas. Given that this will be the fiftieth anniversary of that first tour, our cousins in Patagonia anticipated a visit, hoping that one of the test matches might be played in Trelew, or Puerto/Porth Madryn as on the last tour in 2006.
But it seems the WRU attaches no great importance to the Patagonia connection, or the Welsh language. As I discovered when our Patagonia correspondent supplied me with the information below.
Let me start by emphasising that the host country chooses venues for test matches involving touring teams, and for this tour Unión Argentina de Rugby (UAR) eventually gave the tests to the cities of San Juan and Santa Fe, both west of Buenos Aires and well over a thousand kilometres north of the Welsh settlements.
And even after the decision of the host country the venues still have to be confirmed by World Rugby.
When it became clear that no test match would be played in Patagonia the emphasis shifted to laying on entertainment and sight-seeing tours for WRU representatives, especially players, and of course fans, in order to raise money for the local Welsh schools. But for this to happen, the tour operators, responsible for arranging the fans’ itineraries, would need to play ball.
My source’s first contact with the WRU was a phone call on 27 September from chairman Gareth Davies (following a number of telephone calls to him and his secretary). Davies passed the job on to Mark Killingley, Head of Digital and Communications. Killingley appears to be an internet/PR expert who joined the Welsh Rugby Union in 2016 from its English counterpart the RFU
Following that telephone conversation my contact sent an e-mail reiterating the hope that the Welsh Rugby Union would – irrespective of where the test matches were held – show support for the Welsh language in Patagonia, specifically for the schools.
“As I explained on the phone, we would like to organise a series of events for both the fans and the WRU, with all money raised being used by the 3 Welsh language schools in Patagonia for the benefit of Welsh language teaching. To have the best chance of getting the UK Rugby tour companies on board, we would like to make an announcement as soon as possible. And, in order to get the best response from the Rugby Tour companies, we would like to have the open support of the Welsh Rugby Union.”
Contact was also made with Gullivers Sports Travel of Gloucester, the Welsh Rugby Union’s official travel agents. Because of course the WRU had said they wouldn’t do anything that conflicted with what Gullivers was arranging.
The representative at Gullivers that my source met – after travelling to England on other business – had never heard of the Welsh colony in Patagonia and showed no interest in learning. Gullivers would only go to Patagonia if the UAR held one of the games down there.
More bad news came with BBC Wales’ refusal to allow sales of the 1968 film I’ve linked to above, despite Cardiff University having prepared a transcript of the film to enable subtitles.
Even after the UAR announced the venues the Welsh community was still optimistic of getting fans to visit and were working flat out. As my source put it in another e-mail to Killingley, “We have a meeting of the Welsh schools in Patagonia this weekend, and I will travel to Trelew next Wednesday (600km!!), to try and finalise at least a programme for the fans.”
Making clear that the only thing being asked of the Welsh Rugby Union was an expression of support for what hard-working and dedicated people were doing down in Patagonia in the hope that tour operators would make it easier for fans to get down there.
E-mails continued to fly between Wales and Provincia Chubut in the desperate hope that the WRU might be persuaded do something – anything! – to recognise the Welsh colony in Patagonia and show support for it, for the Welsh language, and the schools helping keep it alive.
But it soon became clear to my correspondent that this was a forlorn hope.
The WRU made it clear that no players would be coming to Patagonia – ‘But we can send our CEO’.
‘No, I think people down here want to meet the players, but if they can’t come then how about donating some items that could be raffled to raise money for the Welsh schools?’
‘Oh, no, we couldn’t do that without a recognised charity being involved’.
‘For God’s sake these schools are recognised by the Argentina Ministry of Education – and we had to fight to get that recognition for Welsh language schools’.
On March 27, in what was close to the final communication, the Welsh Rugby Union was told:
“Throughout my communication with the WRU, we have tried to make a number of suggestions about how the WRU could help the survival of the Welsh language in Patagonia and each suggestion has met with resistance or rejection and never with any suggestion about how the WRU could help.
The WRU is obviously not willing to assist official representatives of the Welsh communities in Patagonia, who are asking for a simple endorsement of fund-raising initiatives which should align with the broad interest of a very public Welsh organisation. We have pointed out to you that this tour occurs 50 years after the first tour, where the WRU and the BBC went to great lengths to publicise the Welsh communities in Patagonia. You wear your commitment to the Welsh language very openly on your sleeves.”
As things stand, our cousins will next month be laying on events and food, entertainment and sight-seeing trips in the hope that fans will somehow make their way south from the northern cities. And it’s being done without any support whatsoever from the self-styled Welsh Rugby Union. Though in fairness, maybe Gullivers Sports Travel has now got the message, though it might have been garbled in transmission.
With its three feathers badge and its constant fawning over the English royals the Welsh Rugby Union is a national disgrace. Nothing exposes its ambivalent Welshness more than its attitude to the language, both at home and overseas.
Thank God we’ve got a national football team with a governing body far more supportive than the WRU of the language, perhaps even some of our footballers display a little more pride in their roots than many of our rugby players. For example, it was great to see Gareth Bale leave the field in Kiev on Saturday, after scoring his wonder goal, with the national flag draped over his shoulders.
Which seems to be part of a pattern.
For I’ve noticed in fifty years and more of following Welsh sport that our football fans seem to be increasingly dedicated to the team, and to Wales; whereas the death of heavy industry in the south seems to have robbed rugby of its traditional support base, for which spangly cowboy hats, inflatable daffodils and an endless supply of expensive beer are no real substitute.
But then, it’s all money.
DELTA WELLBEING LTD
Readers of this blog, and indeed other blogs, especially those focusing on Sir Gâr, will be alert to any mention of Wellbeing, the catchword for the private healthcare development, shopping mall, leisure centre, 86-lane bowling alley, and home for the Welsh space programme, planned for Delta Lakes in Llanelli. Something of which we first became aware with the publication of this document (page 25, section 5.4).
The grand venture originally involved a company known as Kent Neurosciences Ltd, now, alas, dissolved. Among the directors of this enterprise we find a Professor Robert Marc Clement, a Turk by birth now expanding young minds at Swansea University.
Which is convenient, for Swansea University is a partner in the Delta Lakes project.
I have written nothing about Clement myself but he appears regularly on The Eye, a blog written by one of my biggest fans, Phil Parry, who is forever quoting me, updating his biography, and using my photos without permission. (You rascal, you!)
Kent Neurosciences’ place at Delta Lakes may now have been taken by Delta Wellbeing Ltd, Incorporated as recently as January this year with a single one pound share. The company was formed by a Russell Holmes Thompson from what I believe to be his home address in Wolverhampton.
So why would someone form a company in Wolverhampton that is obviously linked to Delta Lakes in Llanelli? Come to that, who is Russell Holmes Thompson? Well, he seems to have been involved in many companies over the years, a number of which are in the health and care sector.
He must have been previously known to Carmarthenshire County Council because on February 4 he ceased to be “a person with significant control” and a day later he was joined as director by Mrs Samantha Watkins, an employee of the council. On the same day the company’s address moved from Wolverhampton to the Dafen Industrial Estate in Llanelli.
Then, mysteriously, Watkins ceased to be a director on the 8th, but returned on March 20 accompanied by Owen William Bowen, possibly another council employee. So it was no surprise to see on March 23 Carmarthenshire Council listed as “a person with significant control”.
Which means that between February 8 and March 20 Thompson was officially the sole director despite having officially relinquished “significant control”. Odd, that.
As we know, Carmarthenshire County Council is simply Mark Vincent James, its chief executive (and Cardiff Bay property tycoon), by another name. And Delta Lakes is his gift to posterity, his lasting legacy for the grateful citizenry of Carmarthenshire, and nothing must be allowed to interfere with this vision.
So let’s keep an eye on Delta Wellbeing Ltd and the Delta Lakes project generally. Keep tabs on how much of the county’s money is used on this project, what other partners emerge, how much of the Swansea Bay City Deal money is diverted, what role is found for Marc Clement, how many new homes will be needed to help fund it, etc.
This could run and run!
CASTING A LONG SHADOW
The tragic death of Carl Sargeant AM last November lifted the lid a little on the links between politicians, their advisers, PR outfits, third sector parasites and other denizens of that cess-pit known as Cardiff Bay.
Fresh information reaches me that makes the whole business look even more distasteful.
I’m told that following Sargeant’s death, Christina Rees, MP for Neath and Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, had to be forced by other Welsh MPs to make a statement of condolence. Because, I’m told, she, or perhaps her political adviser, former Cardiff councillor, Luke Holland, had been briefing against Carl Sargeant, and that the briefings continued against former AM Leighton Andrews, Sargeant’s friend and defender.
There was outrage within the Labour Party over the behaviour of Rees and Holland, which the bruvvers managed to keep within the party (easy given the absence of a Welsh media) but even so, Holland’s position became untenable and he left, or was forced to leave, Ms Rees’ office.
So what did the boy do next?
He did what everybody in his position does – he set up a PR outfit! This one called Cathod Du (Black Cats) Consultancy Ltd, Incorporated November 30. It seems to have no website and no presence beyond the few sparse documents at Companies House, but that may not matter, for it might now have a specific purpose, or a single client.
I’m told that Holland is a supporter of Vaughan Gething, who a few days ago announced that he was running for Labour leader in the Assembly. And in the best traditions of Welsh politics it is further suggested that Cathod Du may act as a conduit for funding the Gething campaign.
To complicate matters even further, Mark Holland is married to Louise Magee, the general secretary of Plaid Tlodi. Magee was heavily involved in Sargeant’s sacking on November 3. I believe it was she who sent the e-mail informing him of his dismissal.
Then, in a plot twist few writers would dare commit to paper – Magee was appointed by the party to be Jack Sargeant’s agent in his campaign to succeed his father! Understandably, the welcome mat was not rolled out for her on Deeside, so she booked into a hotel outside of the constituency and kept a very low profile.
And to round off this tale of betrayal and incestuous relationships I also hear that soon after being appointed the Poverty Party’s general secretary last April Magee gave hubby Holland the job of being her press officer, without the post being advertised and at a higher salary than other staff.
If so, this isn’t listed on his Linkedin profile, nor can I find information anywhere else, so can anyone confirm this?
I was told long before Carl Sargeant’s death that Vaughan Gething was Carwyn Jones’s chosen successor. Given how instrumental Jones’s staff and former staff were in the campaign against Sergeant, Magee’s role, and how that links with Holland, and how Holland may now be Gething’s bagman, it does make you wonder.
One of the few Twitter accounts I follow is the excellent Welsh not British and his On This Day feature, which last week reminded us of the Mold Riots of 1869. Just as well because I’m sure few of us know of this episode.
Like so many events in our history the Mold Riots have either been corrupted or ignored entirely. And yet, here we have Welsh miners suffering discrimination, being denied work, then arrested, with the episode eventually resulting in soldiers shooting down people in the streets of a Welsh town.
So how come ‘Welsh’ Labour doesn’t commemorate this event?
The simple answer is that any issue that pits Wales against England or Welsh against English must be avoided like the pox in case it encourages nationalist sentiment which might result in more people questioning the benefits to Wales of being in the Union with England.
But equally, taking the side of England or the English would be damaging for the party, so it’s best that certain issues and incidents are ignored entirely.
For when it comes to Wales the Labour Party is primarily a Unionist Party, everything else is secondary. The ‘socialism’ is just sloganising; the ‘concern’ for the downtrodden is nothing more than posturing to justify the maintenance of the party’s third sector auxiliary force; while the hostility to capitalism is an excuse to explain sheer incompetence from arseholes incapable of organising an economy.
Next year marks the 150th anniversary of the Mold Riots. The Poverty Party won’t commemorate the event but those who died and the others who suffered such blatant and racist discrimination should be remembered. They deserve it.
Let’s do it in 2019!
SEND US YOUR SICK AND YOUR ELDERLY, WALES CAN AFFORD IT!
The Conservatives have once again raised the issue of free prescriptions, and once again, they’ve done it without really grasping the problem.
As the article from Llais y Sais tells us, people have been getting Bonjela, Strepsils, and even deodorants on prescription, which is guaranteed to get ‘Apoplectic of Cowbridge’ choking on his single malt but doesn’t amount to much in the greater scheme of things. For the abuse of the free prescription legislation is only the tip of the iceberg.
That’s because free prescriptions attract into Wales large numbers of people who would otherwise be spending a sizeable amount of money every month on prescription charges, for there are no free prescriptions in England. These will be people with serious and long-term conditions.
I see such people every day in Tywyn, and they can be found in every other small town in Wales.
Quite obviously, the demands such people make on the NHS will not be restricted to prescription charges. In fact, prescription charges will be only one small part of the burden imposed by a high dependency group attracted to Wales in the first instance by free prescriptions.
For they will also require hospital treatment, therapy and carers, there may be a nurse calling regularly. Or perhaps it’s transport, from the Wales Mobility and Driving Assessment Service, funded by the ‘Welsh’ Government. Its headquarters are at Rookwood Hospital in Cardiff but it has a northern office in Rhyl and ‘outreach’ services at Newtown, Oswestry and Pembrokeshire.
All of which adds up to a hell of a lot more in monetary terms than prescription charges.
Of course a high percentage of the people we’re discussing will be middle-aged and elderly, which helps explain why we also read in the article, “The number of ‘drugs for dementia’ items rocketed by 1,473% – up from just over 11,000 in 2002 to nearly 179,000 in 2017”.
An iron law of the relationship between Wales and England says: ‘Anything which makes Wales attractive to English people will result in large numbers of English people moving into Wales’.
It would be nice if this was a booming economy, an abundance of well-paid jobs, and a labour shortage, but it’s not. (Of course, many of the better jobs are reserved for English people, but that’s simply because of our colonial status.)
Apart from that, what attracts people to Wales in 2018 – especially the retired and other non-working groups – is cheap property prices (or easy access to social housing), nice scenery, few ‘ethnic minorities’, and free prescriptions.
Yes, Northern Ireland and Scotland also have free prescriptions, but they do not have large numbers of English people, moving in every year. Those that do move are more likely to be students than retirees.
It’s difficult to understand why the situation we experience today could not have been foreseen, and the problem mitigated with a residency period of say 10 years in Wales before anyone qualified for free prescriptions.
Or maybe it was foreseen.
Because if someone wanted to skew Welsh health and sickness statistics, over-burden our NHS, in order to paint a picture of we Welsh being unable to run our own affairs, then free prescriptions is a bloody good way of doing it.
I leave you with the words of a ‘Welsh’ Government spokesperson: “Free prescriptions were introduced in Wales as a long-term investment to improve people’s health”. The truth is that free prescriptions have made Wales a less healthy country.
Despite fierce competition from Channel 17 in Albania and the Nova Scotia Parrot Breeders’ Monthly Jac o’ the North is delighted to have secured exclusive rights to First Minister Carwyn Jones’ end-of-year Review. Enjoy!
Hello there, I’m Carwyn Jones, you may not know me, but I’m the First Minister of Wales. More importantly, I also run the local branch of the Labour Party (along with Owen Smith MP and a few other people). I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas, I know I did. It gave me a chance to put my feet up and relax for a change, after another hectic and hugely successful year in Wales. Let’s go through it month by month.
P.S. Jac has kindly added some pictures showing me at work, so click on them to make them bigger.
JANUARY: The Dylan Thomas Centenery Year got off to a wonderful start when documents were found at Transport House showing that Dylan was a lifelong supporter of the Labour Party, joining the party in 1938 while fighting in the Spanish Civil War. Not only that, but a previously unknown poem also came to light. Here’s a brief extract showing both his mastery of pomes and stuff and also his commitment to the party he loved: ‘I’ve always been ronk Labour / Its meetings are never missed; / Its nostrums are adhered to, / Even when I’m pissed’. The second verse is playfully romantic: ‘I love the Labour Party, / It’s meetings are such fun, / The branch secretary’s a honey, / I wouldn’t mind giving her one’. Chokes me up, it does. And I bet it brings tears to the eyes of all poetry lovers.
FEBRUARY: It was brought to my attention that some foolish people are campaigning to re-open the Carmarthen to Aberystwyth railway line, possibly even go on to Bangor. It should be obvious to everyone that if you’re travelling by rail from north to south (or even south to north) then the existing route via Norwich is clearly the best option and gives people hours, days even, of extra working time. As the old English saying goes, ‘East to west is always best (especially in Wales)’. Who can argue with this tried and tested legitimisation of colonialism?
MARCH: I was surprised to receive from Mr Sargeant and his friends in the Planning Inspectorate a report saying Wales needs one million new homes by 2025. In fact, I said to him, “This seems like a lot, Carl”. But then it was explained to me that this number is due to our soaring birthrate fuelled by the booming Welsh economy which can only be attributed to 15 years of wonderful Welsh Labour controlling the Assembly. So when you look at it like that it makes perfect sense. In fact, a million may not be enough. (Which is what the Planning Inspectorate is already suggesting.)
APRIL: The London media, at the behest of the Coalition government, said terrible things about the Welsh NHS, so let me put a few things straight. The reason Mrs Rhian Evans of Llanrwst’s baby was delivered by the men re-possessing her three-piece suite was not because we had no ambulances available, it was because she tried calling for one in Welsh! Another calumny (a posh word taught to me by Mrs Hutt) being bandied about is that people have to wait ages before being seen by a doctor. Mr Bowen Owen of Ystradgynlais – fleeting cause celébrè of the right-wing English press – would not have spent three weeks in the waiting room if he’d told staff he was deaf. (And it goes without saying that patient confidentiality is our watchword.)
MAY: No, not Mrs May up in London, over whom certain men fantasise. (Ych a fi!) I’m thinking of the European elections, which Labour won with a stonking majority when almost 10% of those elligible to vote in Wales voted Labour. There’s no arguing with a victory of that magnitude. Though of course some nit-pickers did try, saying that Ukip got nearly as many votes as us. But that’s to miss the point, because – and I’m not talking about Europe here – on the issue that really matters, Labour and Ukip are gobbing into the same spittoon.
JUNE: Unkind things were also being said about our higher education sector, so let’s put the record straight. To suggest that some of our universities are lowering entry requirements and cutting corners in pursuit of money is both insulting and incorrect. The fact that Aberystwyth now accepts students with two F grades and a new toothbrush should not deflect from the excellent work being done there by the very popular Ms April McMahon and her loyal and supportive staff. As for Glyndŵr university, degrees were not – as was alleged – being sold in Turkmenistan, far from it. The truth is that a Welsh university broke into new markets by respecting local traditions. In this case, courtesy demanded that certain local dignitaries be allowed to take away examination papers and return them at a time of their own choosing. When it was accepted that the fruit of the potentates’ loins had completed the papers unaided, with everything above board due to the process having been overseen by invigilators provided at said potentates’ expense. How could anyone question such an arrangement?
JULY: Even though I was on holiday with Mrs Carwyn and the kids I couldn’t stop thinking about the job. One day, whilst sipping a mint julep (with shaved ice, natch), I was forced to concede that there are ‘issues’ in local government. That said, all the problems in Caerphilly were clearly the responsibility of the previous Plaid Cymru administration. If they had paid the chief executive a decent whack then there would have been no need for him to conspire arrange to have a massive salary increase from Mr Gezwell Kirby and his Band of Bruvvers in the incoming Labour administration. While down in Carmarthenshire the Independent Party and Plaid Cymru made a terrible mess of things. Later in the year, the leader of Swansea council had my full support . . . until the coup, after which the new leader had my full support. The bottom line is that everywhere you look around Wales you see the same problem – everything going to pot because people won’t let the Labour Party run things unhindered. (Or the chief executive, whichever applies.)
AUGUST: I went to the National Eisteddfod, held this year in Llanelli. As you can see from the photograph, I was mobbed by hordes of young Labour activists. (Phwoar!) While there I made a firm commitment to defend the Welsh language at all times . . . unless it meant contradicting the Planning Inspectorate, annoying the Secretary of State, pissing off Labour MPs, interfering with the colonisation strategy, damaging the profits of Wimpey, Redrow, Persimmon, etc., or alarming anyone in London. Those minor caveats aside, let there be no questioning of my firm resolve to do everything I can to ensure that Welsh-speaking communities survive and prosper.
SEPTEMBER: First, I summoned all the world’s leaders to a NATO summit in Newport so I could tell them how to deal with ISIS, Putin, Salmond and assorted threats to our perfect Western system. (Thankfully, no one realised there were any ‘protests’ in Newport because they were sabotaged organised by Ms Bartolotti of MI6 the Green Party.) Next, I flew (from Bristol) to Scotland to confront the aforementioned Alex Salmond and frustrate his dastardly plan to make Scotland democratic, fair and wealthy. (Jesus! think of the trouble that would have caused!) Due to some very nifty work backstage and in the wings (by those I dare not name) the referendum vote was an emphatic and overwhelming No. It was so emphatic and overwhelming that support for the Scottish National Party has now collapsed as Scots have come to their senses and flock to join the Labour Party. Mr Salmond himself is a broken man, and has abandoned all political ambitions to open a barber shop in Kirriemuir.
OCTOBER: Due to the thousands of new businesses that were created by Welsh Labour with the first two rounds of EU Structural Funds, and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that came with them, those nice people in Europe wisely gave us another two billion pounds to continue with our wonderful work. We are open to imaginative suggestions on how to use this money. Applications containing words or phrases not unlike those here listed stand a good chance of scuring funding: ‘eco-‘ / ‘community space’ / ‘CVs’ (as in ‘help with completing . . . for non-existent jobs’) / ‘enviro-‘ / ‘Labour Party’ (as in, ‘I am a member / supporter . . . ‘) / ‘self-esteem’ / ‘Green’ / ‘multicultural’ / ‘holistic’ / ‘LGBT’ / ‘social enterprise’ / ‘England’ (as in, ‘recently moved from . . . ‘) / ‘raiki’ / ‘not-for-profit’ / ’empowerment’ / ‘real job’ (as in, ‘never had a . . .’).
NOVEMBER: After reading that every Norwegian is now, theoretically, a millionaire, due to the success of Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, I decided we must have one in Wales. (Though I have reservations about using the term ‘sovereign’.) Starting in January, groups of highly-trained financial analysts will be touring the country with state of the art buckets taking up a national collection. So give granny a good shake, slash open the sofa and chairs, and give whatever you can find to Welsh Labour because, deep inside, you know we’ll use it wisely.
DECEMBER: Mr Vincent Tan has made such a favourable impression on Cardiff City fans that we decided to capitalise on his popularity and fast-track him into the Assembly. He’ll be taking over Vaughan Gething’s seat of Kerdiff South and Penarth. We haven’t told Vaughan yet, it’ll be a surprise! . . . a hell of a surprise seeing as we’ve spread a rumour that he’s my annointed successor! (Well, laff!!)
2015: I look forward to 2015 with great optimism. Due to the wonderful work of the Welsh Government’s Bread and Circuses Division our boys will either win the Rugby World Cup or fail heroically; either way, if celebrated properly (with the help of our wonderful Welsh media), it should then give us a majority in the Assembly elections of 2016. As if that wasn’t enough, a string of blockbusters will be filmed at Valleywood: cruise liners will make their first, serene appearance on the Llangollen canal; the roar of F1 cars will be heard at the Circuit of Wales; Cardiff International airport will enter an exciting partnership with Bristol and be re-named Bristol (West); thousands of jobs will be created at the Margam Superpit; Llanelli town centre will become the favoured location for post nuclear holocaust movies; and Rhyl will be twinned with any other shit-hole desperate enough for the connection.
Take my word for it, 2015 is going to be a great year in Wales. Everywhere you go you’ll hear shoe-shine boys and beggars, bailiffs and food bank staff, whistling that old Harry Secombe number, Every day when I wake up, I thank the Lord I’m Labour.